Life cycle assessments earn BlueScope an international award

News /
24 October 2013
Life cycle assessments earn BlueScope an international award
German Steel Federation president Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff presented the Award to BlueScope chief executive Mark Vassella.

BlueScope's commitment to improving the environmental sustainability of its products has earned it an internationally recognised steel award.

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) Steel Award, known as a 'Steelie', was presented to BlueScope at the award ceremony of the 47th Annual Steel Industry Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 8 October in the category of Excellence in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

German Steel Federation president Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff presented the award to BlueScope chief executive Mark Vassella.

The award recognises BlueScope's use of LCAs in analysing and reducing the environmental impact of its next generation ZINCALUME® steel (AM125) and its soon-to-be-launched COLORBOND® steel (AM100) products.

BlueScope was chosen as the winner of the LCA Steelie by an expert panel from a pool of nominations by worldsteel member companies.

BlueScope's sustainability manager Richard Rowe said the award confirms BlueScope's commitment to the use of LCA as a tool to measure the impact of new production techniques and new product designs on whole-of-life product impacts.

"We're delighted that industry members have recognised the high quality BlueScope has achieved in measuring the improved environmental aspects of these products," Mr Rowe said.

"We hope that our example will encourage other manufacturers to invest in LCA and develop manufacturing techniques and products that will lead to a more sustainable future."

The LCAs for COLORBOND® steel and ZINCALUME® steel measured the cradle-to-grave environmental impacts of both products, and compared their performances with BlueScope's previous generation products in a roofing application in commercial and industrial buildings.

Both assessments showed the new products outperformed their predecessors in 18 environmental impact categories including climate change, human toxicity, freshwater toxicity, metal depletion and fossil depletion. Specifically, next generation COLORBOND® steel AM100 was found to outperform COLORBOND® steel AZ150 consistently across 18 environmental impact categories, with improvements ranging from 19.8% to 43.0 per cent. Also next generation ZINCALUME® steel AM125 was found to outperform ZINCALUME® steel AZ150 consistently across 18 environmental impact categories, with improvements ranging from 10.3 to 26.0 per cent.

The LCAs found that the reduction in the amount of metal resources used in the patented aluminium-zinc-magnesium (AM) metal coating contributes to the reduction of its environmental footprint when compared with the traditional aluminium-zinc (AZ) coatings of the previous generation products.

The LCAs also found that the increased durability of the patented AM coating increases the product life span, thereby contributing to the reduction of its environmental footprint when compared with the traditional AZ coatings of the previous generation products.

Other nominees for the worldsteel LCA Steelie included stainless steel and alloy manufacturer Outokumpu for its long-term promotion of lifecycle thinking, Finnish metal company Ruukki for its use of LCAs in energy efficient products, Tata Steel for its sustainability assessment tool for new product development and the world's highest volume crude steel producer ArcelorMittal for its assessment of steel as the sustainable material of choice in the automotive sector.

BlueScope Steel

BlueScope Steel manufactures steel building products including cladding, purlins and house framing, including Lysaght, Colorbond and Zincalume.

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