Steel Construction Industry Plenary Session : Metals NZ

By: Metals Nz  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Sustainability

The Steel Construction Industry Plenary Session was very well-attended with presentations delivered by Pieter Burghout (CEO BRANZ), Dr Stephen Hicks (HERA), Roger Pope (British Construction Steelwork Association, BCSA) and Siobahn Bulfin (NZ Social Media Network).

Pieter’s presentation entitled ‘ Construction Industry Productivity and the Research Needed to ‘Lift the Game”’, described the outcomes from the Building and Construction Sector Productivity Taskforce, and how BRANZ was responding to measuring and improving productivity in the construction sector. He introduced the Construction Productivity Partnership, which was formed in 2010 as a joint venture between BCITO, BRANZ and DBH whose goal is to facilitate a 20% increase in productivity within the sector by 2020.

In the presentation entitled ‘  Sustainability – It’s Your Business’, HERA's Structural Systems Manager Dr Stephen Hicks described why the steel industry cannot afford to ignore sustainability in its current and future business activities, as well as introducing the Sustainable Steel Council (SSC) and its industry Roadmap.

Dr Hicks also introduced the new Australian Green Star steel credit criteria, and the quantitative sustainability measurements through Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data and Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) which, in the construction sector, often only consider the cradle-to-gate phase (i.e. the in-use and end of life phase are not included).

Finally, with respect to reducing operational energy through Fabric Energy Storage, the results from a paper authored by Richard Green, Dr Stephen Hicks, Dr Roger Pope and John Dowling were presented, which shows that that sufficient thermal mass may be achieved by providing floors with an effective thickness of only 100 mm, which can be readily achieved in all common forms of composite construction.

Dr Roger Pope from BCSA continued the ‘  Sustainability – It’s Your Business’ presentation by presenting some of the work that is being undertaken in the UK. From the UK Target Zero initiative four building types were considered (warehouse, supermarket, school and an office), which showed that: the operational energy was insensitive to the amount of thermal mass available; embodied energy/carbon was highly dependent on the LCA methodology and its boundaries; and that buildings with high sustainability ratings can have a cost premium of over 6%.

He also introduced the fact that global warming potential (GWP) is based on CO2 equivalent (CO2e), which includes the potency of all greenhouse gases. A particular greenhouse gas that should be considered is Methane owing to the fact that it is far more potent than CO2 (an atmospheric lifetime of approximately 12 years); moreover, the accuracy of material flow analyses are essential and that the results presented by some competitor materials neglected to include the effects of production scrap.

Finally, Environmental Product Declarations (EPD’s) were introduced, which have been developed for a variety of steel products and are being widely used in Europe.

Keywords: Sustainability

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