Steel is particularly well suited to sustainable construction. Strong, lightweight, easy to form and assemble, steel reduces the environmental impact of construction at all stages of a building’s lifecycle. And at the end of the building’s life, the steel it contains can be 100% recycled to create new steel.
We want our business to be sustainable in every sense of the word – a business that is both profitable and responsible. We do this by keeping our people safe, and becoming ever more efficient at providing the steel the world needs for construction, transport, manufacturing and all other aspects of everyday life.
Steel in construction is a key component to addressing the challenges of over-population, poverty and climate change.
We are developing new forms of steel that build on its intrinsic flexibility and recyclability to create durable, affordable, and energy-efficient solutions for everything from the tallest skyscrapers to the simplest low-cost homes.
When evaluating the sustainability of a building it is essential to take into account every phase of a building’s life, from the actual extraction of raw material to production, transportation to the construction site and construction operation itself through to the operational use of the building, demolition or dismantling, waste disposal and recycling.
Steel is 100% and indefinitely recyclable, without any quality loss. When recovered, it is 100% recycled. Its recycling rate (i.e. the percentage of materials being taken out of service, recovered and reused) is high but varies from product to product.
In construction, it reaches particularly high levels: 98% for beams, 65-70% for reinforcement bars, 100% for flat steel sheets and panels.
Recycled steel represents 40% of the steel industry ferrous resource in the world. ArcelorMittal is one of the biggest recyclers of steel in the world.
A lot of progress has been made by ArcelorMittal over time. Waste generation, water use and air emissions are continually decreasing, as are energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, CO2 emissions and energy consumption per tonne have been reduced by 20% over the 20 last years.
By year end 2015, 98% of ArcelorMittal production sites had attained ISO 14001 certification, the international standard for environmental management systems.
Over the years, steel buildings have become popular not only in the commercial and industrial sector, but also in the communities for building houses as well. Steel buildings offer many benefits and advantages. Discover the amicable things that can be associated with having steel buildings instead of the traditional building construction materials and processes.
The use of prefabricated elements provides a large range of benefits that contribute to reduce the risks during the construction phase. Prefabricated systems and components bring ease of maintenance, extensions/modifications made possible with flexibility.
Using off-site steel construction systems reduces environmental impacts and neighbourhood nuisance on the construction site.
Water use, waste generation, dust emission, traffic and noise are considerably lower than in traditional construction.
Work site management is largely facilitated. All these advantages are especially appreciable in congested urban areas.
Furthermore, building with steel can represent 50% construction time reduction.
A high proportion of energy use is devoted to heat control, by artificially heating or cooling the building: good steel-based design or use of appropriate steel products can achieve a major reduction in this energy consumption.
Steel is not only thermally efficient but brings also an excellent acoustic insulation.
The extreme durability and versatility of organic coated steel has led to its wide use in the building industry: from wall facades and roofing, to different innovative forms of suspended ceilings and lighting applications.
Furthermore, steel makes it much easier to adapt buildings to new and innovative uses.
A steel building characterised by the absence of load-bearing walls is intrinsically more versatile and flexible than other types of structure. Long spans provide comfort and well-being, capable of change over time to adapt to users requirements.
Steel is already widely used for the construction of horizontal extensions and thanks to its light weight, is fast becoming the only viable solution for vertical extensions.
Thanks to steel’s inherent mechanical properties (particularly its high strength-to-weight ratio) steel construction requires less material than traditional building technologies, helping to reduce a building’s environmental impact and conserve natural resources.
The structures can be lighter, meaning a reduced consumption of materials and conservation of natural resources (from 30% to 70%), and possible use of sites with low loadbearing capacity - soil or foundations.
Each steel component permits deconstruction, facilitating its use into another building. Components can be as independent and exchangeable as possible, with connections that allow for simple and quick removal. Steel components can be reused directly with little or no need for reprocessing.
Steel not only provides exceptionally sustainable solutions for construction, but extremely safe ones too.
Steel combines remarkable strength-to-weight ratios with physical flexibility - it does not crush or crumble, it flexes. So when severe loading occurs (say in an earthquake) steel is better able to absorb the loads without losing its structural integrity, than many other building materials.
This strength and flexibility give steel good performance characteristics in relation to fire too.
Earthquakes are unpredictable in terms of magnitude, frequency, duration, and location. Steel is the material of choice for designing buildings that cope with these events because it is inherently ductile and flexible - flexing under extreme loads rather than crushing or crumbling.
Many of the beam-to-column connections in a steel building are designed principally to support gravity loads. Yet they also have a considerable capacity to resist lateral loads caused by wind and earthquakes.
Taken as a whole, these connections provide superior reserve strength and defence, increasing a building’s resistance against earthquakes and potential for repair. For residential buildings, light-gauge steel profiles allow the design of lighter structures than with concrete, and therefore are less susceptible to lateral seismic forces. Light Steel Framing has been used extensively in seismic risk regions such as Turkey, New Zealand and California.
Steel as a material, is intrinsically fireproof and will not usually allow the spread of flames.
Steel can retain its structural (and loadbearing) integrity at high temperatures and can be used to create building elements with superb fire performing properties that can help occupant safety and minimise structural damage.
Combined with other materials steel can be used to create constructions such as fire resistant panels, partitions, doors and facades that have excellent fire performance.
At ArcelorMittal, we combine our advanced coil coating technology with a selection of high-quality paint systems, guaranteeing their aesthetic appearance and long-term durability. Whatever the project or intended use for the steel, coil coating remains the most efficient and ecological process to apply long-wearing paint finishes on metallic surfaces.
Organic coated steel is produced on industrial lines that are designed to meet the most stringent environmental regulations concerning surface treatments, solvent emissions and the absence of harmful substances in the composition of the paint. Our steels already comply with standards such as ISO 14000/1 in this regard.
For the past 15 years, ArcelorMittal has been developing ranges of organic coated steels which offers exceptional technical advantages and is well placed to respond to present and future environmental regulations:
For the past 15 years, ArcelorMittal has been developing a new range of organic coated steels which fulfil steel’s promise as a strong and durable building material. To be known as Nature, the new collection of steels for the building industry offers exceptional technical advantages and is well placed to respond to present and future environmental regulations. Nspired by Nature, the range does not contain hexavalent chromium or heavy metals such as lead.
ArcelorMittal’s new Nature collection of organic coated steels already complies with current and future European Union REACH regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances. REACH aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances.
ArcelorMittal gives automatic guarantees on its Nature collection of organic coated steels of up to 30 years, depending on the environmental conditions at the construction site.
Our Nature collection is especially designed for environmentally responsible construction and can help designers comply with sustainability legislation and guidance such as BREEAM in the UK, LEED in the USA, HQE in France and many others.
Read as an example the Environmental Product Declaration of Solano® Nature.
The Estetic® product range, part of ArcelorMittal’s Nature collection, has been specifically developed for interior applications, meeting all requirements in terms of aesthetics, flexibility, surface hardness, coating adhesion and corrosion resistance.
Estetic® Bio Air, a breakthrough prepainted steel for interiors which contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), uses a completely organic biological resin to ensure the paint bonds well to the steel substrate. ArcelorMittal formed a government-funded consortium of leading paint suppliers, resin producers, solvent designers, and other experts to develop this plant-based paint coating, which has a Health Product Declaration of A+.
To help you in your project towards low or zero energy buildings, we can provide you the documentations and certificates you would need to prepare your HQE, LEED, BREEAM, DGNB, MINERGIE or any other sustainable building scheme you would be applying to, while using our products.
Banner: Marcel Sembat High School, Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France
Architect : © archi5 with B.Huidobro
Photography: © Thomas Jorion