Behind the Scenes of the Pr4NC5

If you were wondering how we managed to produce the Photovoltaic Ray and Natural Carbon Sink (Pr4NC5) system for our balconies, then read on. As you may have already guessed, this was a light-hearted April Fool’s Day joke, as we hinted at with the name Pr4NC5 (pranks).

While we have a range of innovations which substantially reduce carbon emissions; this clever technology sadly isn’t available just yet. However, rest assured here at Sapphire we’re working hard to reduce our carbon footprint.

We’re taking a holistic approach to sustainability, tackling our embodied and operational carbon emissions and helping developers slash the occupational carbon emissions of their projects long-term.

Material Choice

Most materials have embodied carbon which comes from the energy consumed to produce, process, and transport the material. Different materials have different levels of embodied carbon, so the choice of material for, say, a residential balcony can have an impact on a building’s overall carbon footprint.

The embodied carbon of aluminium is estimated at 2.44 tonnes per balcony (0.41 tonnes per m2) compared with 3.79 (0.63) for steel and 4.23 (0.71) for concrete. Therefore, by specifying a Glide-On™ aluminium balcony specifiers could save 1.79 tonnes of embodied carbon per balcony compared with concrete, or 1.35 tonnes compared with steel balconies.

Weight is a key factor in carbon emissions from shipping, reduced weight equals reduced emissions. This is made clear by the fact that the embodied carbon in shipping aluminium at 0.06 per tonne is significantly lower than steel at 0.21 and concrete at 0.34 per tonne. That makes carbon emissions from shipping 82% lower with aluminium than concrete!

Our balconies are also made from 100% recyclable materials and our anchors can reduce building heat loss by up to 86%, resulting in lower emissions in occupation.

Emissions During Occupation

When assessing materials, it is equally important to consider the reduction in embodied carbon when including thermal breaks. Unbroken concrete balconies are estimated to emit 45.4 tonnes of CO2 over 60 years compared with 5.1 tonnes for thermally broken aluminium over the same period. This means a massive 89% reduction in CO2 could be made by specifying aluminium, while the annual CO2 saving on a typical 250 balcony scheme using this option would be 278 tonnes.

Setting the Standard

Whilst the fictious ISNO standard 1-04-21 is the date, there is some truth, we have maintained ISO 14001 (an environmental standard) for over a decade (since 2009) and have been part of the creation of BS 8579, the new dedicated balcony standard.

Behinds the Scenes of the Pr4NC5

Any electricians out there may have noticed that the charge pack was a fake – you may recognise the 3D printed component from one of our previous April fools videos! Take a look again and you’ll notice a number of subtle hints towards the date, 1st April 2021, hidden throughout the video.

Remember the creator of the Pr4NC5 (pranks) system ‘Dr Shi Gatsu Baka’? Well, this isn’t actually a name at all but means April Fools in Japanese!

The coating does also have some truth, we use a specialist coating which enables wood grain or stone effects to be realistically applied to a range of balcony components which is scratch resistance enough for deck boards.

Hopefully our April fools video brought a smile to your face however rest assured we here at Sapphire are always working to provide real innovation to the world of balconies as well as continuing to provide sustainable balcony systems.

Learn more about our commitment to sustainability in our Sustainability Hub.

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