Life Cycle Assessment and metal constructions: the Position Paper of the Fondazione Promozione Acciaio


Emma Potter

The energy problem and CO emissions2

In Europe, the 40% of energy consumption is attributable to the80% fossil fuelsand the 36% of CO emissions2 it is linked to the life cycle of buildings. The carbon footprint of a building includes all the products and systems that comprise it, encompassing its entire life cycle.

Therefore, we are talking not only about operational carbon, but also about incorporated carbonwhich refers to emissions resulting from the production of materials and the construction itself.

The potential of the construction sector

The construction sector has enormous potential for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. An effective approach to address this challenge is “Life Cycle Assessment” (LCA)a methodology that analyzes the entire life cycle of buildings.

LCA allows you to evaluate the environmental impact of the materials and construction technologies used, promoting solutions that minimize the use of resources and CO emissions2.

LCA is a method that evaluates the set of interactions that a product or service has with the environment, considering its entire life cycle which includes the phases of: pre-production (including the extraction and production phases of materials); production; distribution, use-reuse and maintenance, recycling and final disposal.

The LCA procedure is standardized internationally by ISO 14040 and 14044.

The position of the Steel Promotion Foundation

The Sustainability Commission of Fondazione Promozione Acciaio has addressed this issue in its own Position Paperdeclaring its position on theintegrated and holistic design approach of metal carpentry buildings. This approach considers the entire life cycle of manufactured goods, highlighting the benefits deriving from the reduction of emissions and efficiency in the use of resources.

The document intends to give a strong and authoritative message, emphasizing recovery, reuse and recycling as key elements for the ecological transition. The Italian steel construction sector, often underestimated in its good environmental practices, is valued for its contribution to achieving decarbonisation objectives.

Life cycle analysis of steel structures

Through an in-depth analysis of the process of manufacturing steel structures, the Position Paper examine all stages of the construction value chain. The tangible benefits of adopting a model based on circularity, the quality of materials and industrialized construction technologies are clarified. These benefits do not only concern the environment, but also the social and economic aspects throughout the life cycle of buildings.

Fondazione Promozione Acciaio, through its Position Paper, offers invaluable guidance for the sector, promoting sustainable construction practices and innovations that will contribute to achieving the EU’s decarbonisation objectives.