As society makes determined moves towards sustainability, construction has a very important role to play within this new agenda, not only because of its economic and social contribution, but also because of its impact on the quality of our lives, our comfort and safety. While the building industry provides 5% to 10% of worldwide employment and generates 5% to 15% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the built environment accounts for 40% of energy consumption, 40% of CO2 emissions, 30% of the consumption of natural resources, 30% of waste generation and 20% of water consumption.
The future global challenge for the construction industry is clearly to meet the world’s growing needs while at the same time limiting the impact of its burdens by drastic improvement of its activities.
In construction, steel has developed as a material of choice and offers a wide range of solutions that can make buildings more energy efficient, less costly to operate and more comfortable.
We in ArcelorMittal strongly believe in steel’s values for green building and are committed to helping deliver the benefits that our solutions bring to our customers, buildings and the buildings’ owners.
Issues and responsibilities in respect of sustainable development
The building sector plays a key social role, providing housing for 6 billion people worldwide! As a large economic sector it accounts for about 10 to 15% of direct employment. It also has a strong impact on the environment, with
- 40% of energy consumption
- 40% of CO2 emissions
- 30% of consumption of natural resources
- 30% of waste generation
- 20% of water consumption
and on living conditions: the population – at least in the case of industrialised countries - spends 90% of its life inside buildings. Steel construction is an ideal solution to meet these concerns.
Different phases of a building's life
Sustainable construction: the advantages of steel construction at each phase of a building´s life.
Efficient steel solutions When evaluating the sustainability of a building, the life cycle approach is required, taking into account all phases of a building's life, including materials production, transportation to the construction site, the construction operation itself, operational use of the building, demolition or deconstruction and end of life.
Steel - the most recycled material in the world
Steel is 100% and indefinitely recyclable, without any quality loss. When reclaimed, it is 100% recycled. The recycling rate is the percentage of materials being taken out of service, reclaimed and reused. This rate is very high for steel, but it varies from product to product. In construction, for example, it reaches particularly high levels: 98% for beams, 65-70% for reinforcement bars.
For each tonne produced, the steel industry is storing sustainability for future generations, which will not have to produce it. Recycled steel represents 40% of the steel industry ferrous resource in the world. ArcelorMittal is the world's largest scrap recycler: 1,2 tonnes of steel are recycled each second!
The Recycling Loop
Steel recycling is a sustainable process: the recycling loop is ensured by the intrinsic economic value of steel.
Carbon footprint reduction
Recycled steel represents 40% of the steel industry ferrous resource in the world. - Recycled steel is mainly used in the electric furnace processes (31.7% of the world steel production), but also in the other steel production processes (blast oxygen furnace).
- The steel industry's good performance level is very close to its theoritical limit (50%). Because of steel products' long life cycle and former production levels, the current availability of scrap cannot cover the high demand for steel.
High degree of prefabrication
All steel products, from simple sections to complex façade components, are manufactured off-site and are delivered to site ready to assemble.
The use of steel construction techniques reduces environmental impacts and neighbourhood nuisance on the construction site.