Thursday 29 April 2010: A new Green Star steel credit which focuses on “best practice’ has been introduced into all Green Star rating tools.

The new credit is part of a change in emphasis in the way the Green Building Council of Australia credits building materials. As recently reported by The Fifth Estate (here) the GBCA is moving to a “best practice”  assessment of materials, with PVC, steel and concrete all to be assessed under new guidelines, a move not without its critics.

The new guidelines for steel move away from the original emphasis on recycled steel to best practice.

“Since the GBCA introduced Green Star in 2003, the suite of environmental rating tools has contained a ‘Steel’ credit to encourage the use of recycled steel in structural applications,” says Green Star executive director, Robin Mellon.

“Australian steel manufacturers are already recovering scrap steel from the waste
stream at world’s best practice rates.  Recognising this, the GBCA commenced an extensive stakeholder engagement process in 2009 to review the Steel credit.”

Mr Mellon said the new credit has been endorsed by the GBCA’s Technical Steering Committee following consultation with a Steel Expert Reference Panel, a review of independent research and a stakeholder feedback period.

Under the new Steel credit, projects will be able to claim two points towards their Green Star rating if at least 95 per cent of structural steel and reinforcing steel used in the building is sourced from steel making facilities that meet best practice guidelines and are from steel makers who are members of the World Steel Association’s Climate Action Programme.

Paul O’Keefe, BlueScope Steel’s chief executive, Australian Coated and Industrial Markets, welcomed the change.

“This is a positive result for the environment ensuring only internationally-recognised, environmentally-committed steelmakers will qualify. The new steel credit will increase the focus on building design using best practices in materials and procedures. Builders, engineers and developers can now have confidence in using BlueScope Steel products in the latest Green Star buildings. “

lblundell@thefifthestate.com.au