Taking into account its entire lifecycle, stainless steel has one of the lightest impacts on the Earth of all known engineering materials. And at the end of its long life, all stainless steel can be recycled to create new stainless that is as strong and long-lasting as the original.

How to quantify the environmental impact of stainless steel

This research paper by H. Fujii and T. Nagaiwa was presented in the SETAC North America Annual Meeting, November 2005. It describes how to apply the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data for stainless steel products and recommends a simple standard for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) practitioners with stainless steel. These are ISO-standardized methodologies and are a useful in indicating if a material truly contributes to sustainable development. LCI data is presented for stainless steel grades and examples are given to illustrate the method. There is discussion on the energy saving and reduction in CO2 emissions and it is concluded that stainless steel is a highly sustainable material.

Date: 2005
Provider: world stainless association

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Stainless steel and CO2: Facts and scientific observations

Like any other industry, the stainless steel industry aims to reduce its CO2 emissions. The purpose of this document is to clarify what those emissions are and where they originate.

Date: 2022
Provider: world stainless association

This document is available in EnglishChinese and Japanese. Clicking on the language will open the pdf.

Stainless steel and sustainable construction

This resource aims to provide architects and other specifiers with an overview of stainless steel and sustainable construction. It describes properties inherent to stainless steels such as: good corrosion resistance, structural efficiency, durability, low maintenance, lasting beauty and 100% reusability and recyclability which lead to sustainable development. Correct grade selection for the intended environment and the use of experienced fabricators is also discussed and found to be highly important. The resource also addresses the future challenges for sustainable stainless steel construction with relation to the environmental impact the production of the material has and measures to reduce this.

Date: 2004
Provider: British Stainless Steel Association

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Sustainable duplex stainless steel bridges

Duplex stainless steels are increasingly used as structural materials in building and architecture because of their exceptional mechanical properties. Their room temperature yield strength in the solution annealed condition is more than twice that of standard austenitic stainless steels not alloyed with nitrogen. Over the last few years, they have started playing an increasingly important role in the construction of bridges, wherever specific environmental conditions combine with the need for high load-bearing capability.

Date: 2010
Provider: Steel Construction Institute

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Wrapped in stainless steel – sustainable curtain walls and roofing

Interest in sustainable design has grown significantly around the world. Consequently, material comparisons for exterior applications now frequently include aspects such as recycled content, durability, maintenance requirements and impact on energy and water consumption. When these analyses are done, stainless steel consistently garners high marks, particularly in structures designed for 30 or more years of service.

Date: August 2008
Provider: The Construction Specifier

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Sustainable stainless steel transit station design

Interest in sustainable design has grown significantly around the world. Consequently, more complex material comparisons have become common and increasingly include recycled content, expected life service, maintenance requirements, and impact on energy and water consumption.

Date: September 2009
Provider: The Construction Specifier

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Proving its long-term mettle

Whether the project is a new building or major renovation, sustainability is an increasingly important factor in decision-making. Whole-building life cycle assessment (LCA) makes it possible to look at all phases of a building. From material extraction through construction to decommissioning and, when possible, recycling into a 'new' useful material, when it comes to comparing materials, increasingly available data, an ASTM standard procedure, and LCA analysis software are helping design professionals make better choices to reduce the building's carbon footprint.

Service life prediction is necessary for LCA: it makes corrosion-resistant, long-life, high-recycled-content materials like stainless steel an obvious choice, particularly for corrosive exterior applications. This article explains the fundamentals of whole-building LCA, along with the importance of site assessment and using available corrosion data. It provides examples of stainless steel's long term performance in demanding environments.

Date: 2016
Provider: The Construction Specifier

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