By Cameron Chai
Steel producer, Tata Steel announced that it participated in the 2012 Ecobuild event, which was held on March 20, 2012. John Dowling, the company’s sustainability expert, delivered a presentation on life cycle analysis (LCA) of the steel industry. He has described the importance of considering the entire life of buildings, right from cradle to grave.
Dowling stated that several building product manufacturers just view the cradle part and they ignore the main scenarios of a building at the end of its life, such as reuse, recycling and disposal. The presentation emphasized the advantages of using a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment.
According to a recent publication from Building and BD magazine, 58% of timber is disposed in a landfill and 75% of concrete materials are downcycled in to lower-grade products. However, 99% of steel is recycled into useful products with the same or enhanced properties.
As a part of the Target Zero project, Tata Steel recently carried out a LCA for its warehouse. The analysis has revealed that the floor slab and foundations produced the greatest impact on the building’s carbon footprint. Without these findings, the company would have focused on the envelope and superstructure to minimize the carbon footprint.
According to Dowling, the cradle-to-grave analysis enables manufacturers to identify and focus on important areas to enhance sustainable construction. He also added that a superior cradle-to-grave LCA will offer an opportunity for manufacturers to differentiate products and increase their marketable value.