Less Concrete+ Less Steel= Less CO2…

…can steel fiber solutions reduce embodied carbon in buildings?

Buildings are currently responsible for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.

Therefore, the built environment sector has a vital role to play in responding to the climate emergency, and addressing upfront carbon is a critical and urgent focus

Most of the embodied carbon in buildings, which refers to the emissions during the construction of a building rather than when it is in use, comes from materials. It is of priority to help customers lower the embodied carbon of their projects by offering sustainable, concrete reinforcement solutions. Unlike mesh/rebar, steel fibers are an inherently sustainable technology and reduce the total amount of steel needed, without sacrificing performance or adding to the build cost. As such support is needed to contractors, developers, and builders to reach their sustainability targets, and are on the road to Carbon Neutrality.

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Less concrete + less steel = less CO2

Steel fibers for concrete reinforcement are inherently more sustainable than traditional solutions (mesh/rebar) and reduce CO2 by up to 35% in every project. Steel fibers realize this by reinforcing concrete homogeneously, hence less reinforcement material is needed for the same performance. Further, through advanced steel fiber design optimization, we succeed in designing thinner, but equally durable concrete slabs, which require significantly less concrete, steel and water than conventional reinforcement solutions.

Longer lasting concrete floors

Steel fibers enable building concrete floors with longer lifetimes.   A concrete floor reinforced with steel fibers is more durable and resistant to wear and tear than traditionally reinforced floors. This is particularly important in industrial flooring given the increased warehouse automation. Automated warehouse vehicles follow identical routes, creating more localized usage patterns. Reduction in maintenance and operational costs also leads to CO2 reduction in overall building lifecycle.

EPD certified & Green Building Certifications

Green building certification systems, such as LEED or BREEAM, include various credits where EPDs and its Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) could support reaching targets. For example, LCAs can demonstrate the CO2 savings to earn building life cycle credits. Further, Bekaert offers support in tracing raw material sourcing with transparency to contribute to responsible sourcing credits.  Using steel fiber allows reducing material, construction and maintenance cost which improves the life cycle cost analysis. Steel fiber also contributes to material efficiency by reducing the amount of reinforcement material needed. Moreover, by demonstrating increase in lifespan and more durable structures steel fibers contribute to durability analysis.

End of Life Circularity

Steel is the second most recycled product on earth. In this context, the reinforced concrete is first crushed. Then, the most efficient method of recovering the steel is through magnetic separators. Most of that steel can be remelted and reused as steel fibers (or other applications) without any quality loss.

Green Transportation

Greenhouse gases are not only reduced in the way your floor is designed and built.  Steel fibers enable densely packed reinforcement material. This allows us to use the container space to maximum. The fuel consumption for transport per unit weight is therefore substantially lower. Less mechanical handling with lifting material, adds to the reduction of greenhouse gasses.

This article is published in collaboration with BEKAERT, a ECOWORKS Asia partner for Sustainable Building Solutions and industry leader for steel fiber concrete solutions.

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About Bekaert:

Bekaert was established in 1880 and is a global company with approximately 30 000 employees worldwide. From tiny steel fibers for concrete structures to steel cord mesh for masonry, Bekaert offers the construction industry a wide range of Steel wire reinforcement solutions.

Dramix┬« concrete reinforcement reduces the number of joints and related weaknesses, which helps floors in excellent shape for extended service life. 

Dramix® is suitable for seamless, jointless and saw-cut floors.


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