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STEEL CONSTRUCTION | Sustainability

Steel construction, in addition to being extremely versatile and durable is perfectly in sync with the concept of ecologically sustained development.

Steel is a 100% recyclable material and once its functionable lifetime expires, it can go back into the furnace as scrap metal and become useable steel once again with no quality lost.

Construction of steel structures use clean technology, which significantly reduces the impact of environmental issues during the construction stage, and once works are completed, they ensure the safety and comfort of the structure’s inhabitants.

In the search for sustainability in civil construction, it is fundamental to consider the whole life cycle of the building process, from its very concept to the end of its useful lifetime. It is necessary to deal with all relevant points when conceiving the project, providing solutions that will appropriately account for important environmental, social and economic challenges of the enterprise. Issues are many and include decisions from the choice of the most suitable implementation method to the operating conditions and costs; selection of materials to be used; assessment of the impact caused by the works in the surroundings and definitions of thermal, visual and acoustic comfort to be provided to users. Additionally, there is the attention to social aspects related to the involved workers or community. This is the context where steel shows its full potential in contributing to the evolution of the sustainable construction by presenting advantages such as:

  • Does not pollute the environment: steel is obtained from iron ore, which is one of the most abundant elements on the planet. The production process results in a homogenous material that does not release substances harmful to the environment.
  • Use of co-products: co-products resulting from steel production may also be used in civil works. Steelmaking aggregates are used in the production of cement and can be employed in the paving of roads and as ballast in railroads;
  • Savings in execution time: steel allows faster construction speed, as most components are produced outside the work site. Construction time is shorter, therefore minimizing annoyances to the neighborhood;
  • Savings in materials and reduces impacts: lighter steel structure reduces the need for foundations and excavations generating less earthwork therefore reducing truck trips to remove waste and the need for specific areas to dump it;
  • Maximizing natural lights by saving energy: the steel’s high resistance allows for wider structures. Light and transparent roofs and facades favor natural lighting and therefore can save energy.
  • Durability: there are several ways to effectively protect steel from corrosion, either by means of metal coating or painting, or even both, which are directly applied to plates or the structure itself during the manufacturing process.
  • Flexibility: buildings with structural steel offer maximum freedom to the enterprise, in the operation phase and in future adaptations. Constructions can be easily modified or expanded to be used for different purposes.
  • Steel is infinitely recyclable: steel may be fully recycled without losing any of its qualities. Thanks to its magnetic properties, which are not to be seen in any other material, steel can be easily separated from other materials, thus allowing high recycling rates.

Steel and Environment

Steelmaking companies are in a never-ending search for eco-efficiency in their products and processes.

Sustainability Report

Aço Brasil presents in a consolidated manner the economic, environmental and social effects of the steelmaking sector in its Sustainability Report, one of the first segments to perform such a study.

CCABrasil – Brazil Steel Co-product Center

In December/2010, the Brazil Steel Co-product Center - CCABrasil facility advanced a major step towards fostering the development of co-products capable of meeting, with quality and sustainability, several application possibilities.

Co-products are materials that along with steel result from steelmaking process and for which technologies were developed in order allow their use, in an appropriate and environmental manner, as raw material or energy source on the generating activity itself of by third parties.

The use of co-products contributes towards the sustainability of the steel industry, therefore avoiding the disposal of waste in landfills, reducing CO2emission and preserving natural non-renewable resources.

For more information please visit: Brazilian Center for Sustainable Construction.

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