Sustainability is probably not the first thing you contemplate when you think of steel, but it is an extremely sustainable material. Then there are the products that are made from steel. It is ever present in our lives from our mobile phones to street lighting, and transport systems to energy generation – steel helps us to efficiently fuel and run our lives.
But why is it so sustainable?
Well, the characteristics of steel make it well suited to circular economic principals – and even if we forget about its durability and flexibility, and its ability to be reused or repurposed – steel is never consumed. It is used again and again without any loss of strength or quality.
Building with steel provides opportunities for not only extended lower maintenance life cycles, but the flexibility to provide opportunities for changes in use, at later stages of the life of the building, when needs might change. To achieve this flexibility and circularity, the construction supply chain must work together to ensure that we are reducing resource use in the ‘construction’ and ‘building use’ phase. Work is also required to ensure that, at the end-of-life of a building, we have the choice available to us to use those materials and products again.
As a manufacturer Tata Steel is committed to the design of more sustainable products that contribute to solutions which are: lighter, longer lasting and use fewer resources to produce. We cannot solve the problems alone, only the supply chain working together can do that, but we can put in place the enablers for circular economic use.
A great example of a sustainable building is the Greenhouse Building in Utrecht (right). The building is made only of high strength steel and glass and is entirely demountable. Which makes the framework 100% reusable in the future. With 120 solar panels the greenhouse building is also completely energy neutral. The use of insulated panels provided excellent airtightness further reducing energy intensity in the use of the building.
A sustainable built environment
At Tata Steel, we are also committed to becoming a carbon neutral steel maker by 2050. This will require significant investment in breakthrough technology such as our innovative HIsarna technology. The HIsarna technology has been shown to reduce CO2 intensity by up to 50%, and up to 80% with carbon capture and storage.
It is in product design however, that Tata Steel can contribute significantly towards a more sustainable built environment. From lighter-weight, higher-strength steel structural hollow sections, to building systems and components that are easy to install and easy to maintain. Products that will improve the insulation and reduce the air permeability of the building, and then contribute to improved scenarios at the end of the building life, through the adoption of circular economic principals.
When we think about sustainability we need to consider the whole life cycle. In support of this, steel buildings are increasingly designed to be reused and are therefore easy to assemble and disassemble, ensuring major environmental savings. With our Building Information Model (BIM) tool www.tatasteeldnaprofiler.com your decision-making will be supported from the moment you have a design idea, till the moment the building needs to be constructed and eventually dismantled. With detailed environmental performance data on our products, combined with the widest portfolio of externally certified ‘responsibly sourced’ products available – our products are working hard to deliver a more sustainable built environment.
With Tata Steel’s building products you will have the pleasure of living in a beautiful building and contributing to a sustainable world.