Rising to the challenge of a carbon-neutral construction industry will require a rethinking of priorities when it comes to emissions. While emphasis on operational carbon is important, reducing embodied carbon needs to become a stronger focus. This means more attention to the emissions profiles of materials: from raw materials to manufacturing, to transportation.

In the public imagination, operational carbon appears as the most important site of change and of course it does: carbon emissions from the operation of buildings have proportionally been the largest contributor to their total emissions. But as developers and designers seek out more efficient ways to power their buildings, and as the energy grid shifts toward renewables, raw materials have an important role to play too.

Steel has a unique contribution to make to emission-reduction strategies, due to the nuance in its sustainability story. It’s been called ‘the world’s most recyclable material’ as it loses none of its strength in the process. Steel has an exciting role to play in the circular economy when handled appropriately. InfraBuild has already put substantial effort into recycling, as one of Australia’s largest metal recycling businesses, capturing 98 per cent of the recoverable metals in its recycling stream in 2022. To reach ambitious climate goals, InfraBuild recognises that there needs to be more urgency and more action: climate￾friendly solutions need to be adopted at pace and en-masse. And for that to happen, that change needs to be as easy as possible to adopt.

Australian innovation

This idea of a lower embodied carbon construction solution was the driving mentality behind developing their new product range, SENSE Solutions®. In their efforts to create Australia’s sustainable steel, InfraBuild invested in research on material efficiency, with support from Monash University and the University of New South Wales. This research focused on ways to create steel with the same load capacity and fewer raw materials, without adding to the workload of designers, engineers, builders, or processors. From this intensive process, SENSE 600® and SENSE 600® TrenchMesh™ were developed.

SENSE 600® is made from 100 per cent scrap steel and uses up to 16.7 per cent less raw material and offers up to 35 per cent less embodied carbon than its equivalent 500N reinforcing steel. In fact, it can be used as a direct replacement for 500N reinforcing steel. SENSE 600® TrenchMesh™ is constructed using InfraBuild’s SENSE 600®, providing a direct replacement for Grade 500 Trench Mesh.

Making sense

It was the nature of this substitution that was so important throughout the design process. InfraBuild wanted to deliver a lower embodied carbon solution without adding extra time and effort to the processes of construction industry stakeholders, making change easy. This has two dimensions: the first is during the design and building process: engineers can use their existing design software and processors can use the same equipment for scheduling and identification. Steel fixers follow the same steps with the same number of steel bars.

The second component of this is compliance. InfraBuild recognises the impact that non-compliant steel and verifying compliance has on the industry – it’s both a financial and time burden that no developer or builder wants to shoulder.

When you choose SENSE Solutions®, you know you’re supporting an Australian-developed solution and meeting the high-quality material certifications that are a hallmark of the local construction industry. For your project’s peace of mind, SENSE 600® and SENSE 600® TrenchMesh™ are CodeMark-certified, and conform to AS/NZS 4671 and AS 2870 respectively. With the quality and reduced travel miles of a local provider, you can feel confident that you’re building a more sustainable future for the Australian construction industry.

By focusing on materials, emissions are being tackled from the ground up. With its own ambitious climate goals, InfraBuild continues to strive for better, more efficient solutions that create Australia’s sustainable steel for a brighter future.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by InfraBuild. For more information about InfraBuild’s mission and the SENSE Solutions® product range, watch the video below or visit infrabuild.com/sense-solutions

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