Ruukki Construction endorses the World Green Building Council’s vision for fully carbon-neutral construction by 2050. An appeal to the entire construction industry is part of the World Green Building Week events taking place around the world between 23 and 29 September.
Buildings have a greater potential to reduce carbon emissions than traffic, for example. Globally, buildings account for about 39% of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
About 30% of this share comes from manufacturing of building materials and construction works and 70% from the use of the building, e.g. for heating.
In the WGBC report, the carbon neutrality determination focuses on the entire life cycle of the building from the production of raw materials to the use-phase and ultimately demolition of the building and the reuse and recycling of building components. Ruukki has promoted life-cycle approach for a long time. A small investment in product quality can significantly reduce energy consumption in use-phase, extend service intervals, or improve component reuse or material recycling possibilities.
Ruukki is strongly committed to new, eco-friendly innovations in the future. Many of Ruukki Construction’s activities are aimed at a carbon-neutral society:
Raw materials and manufacturing
About 20–30% of Ruukki’s parent company SSAB’s raw material is recycled steel. SSAB’s ambitious goal is to abandon carbon-based steel production and replace it with a hydrogen-based process by 2045. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% by 2025 and to eliminate them by 2045.
The use of recycled materials is also significant in Ruukki’s end products. For example, over 70% of the material used in glass wool insulation for sandwich panels is recycled.
Environmental friendliness has been extended to coatings. In the manufacture of GreenCoat coatings for Ruukki’s roofs and facades, a significant proportion of fossil oil has been replaced by rapeseed oil. High-quality coatings are used to manufacture products with a longer lifespan, ensuring product performance in changing conditions and enabling product reuse.
At Ruukki Construction, shipments of construction products are designed to be efficient. This means that vehicles are driven at full load and the return journey brings raw materials back to the factory. This reduces the number of journeys, limits mileage and increases efficiency.
Steel products can be transported more efficiently than other similar products, resulting in reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Let’s take a detached house with a roof area of 150 square metres as our example. Steel roofing weighs about 5 kg per square metre, while corresponding ceramic tile roofing weighs 40 kg per square metre. A lorry with a capacity of 20 tonnes can carry steel roofing for about 27 detached houses. In contrast, transporting ceramic tile roofing for 27 such houses would require about 8 lorries.
As for building products, on top of outstanding insulation performance, Ruukki sandwich panels enable excellent air tightness for entire buildings, resulting in both heating and cooling cost savings. Sandwich panels are typically used in larger industrial and logistics buildings where they can result in significant emission reductions.
Photovoltaic solutions integrated into a building’s facade can also generate some of the energy used in the building and thus reduce its carbon footprint during the use phase.
Reuse and recycling
Even long-life products come to the end of their lives. In addition to longevity, R&D focuses on product reuse and the recyclability of raw materials following the building’s end of life. Steel parts can always be 100% recycled.