BARRETT STEEL BUILDINGS LTD
Carbon Footprint Report 2009
Our sustainable results 3
Benefit to you 5
Why steel? Q&A’s 6
References & contact 9
Joint Managing Director : Overview
I have been involved with our sustainability agenda for over 4
years. The more I learn about the subject the more I realise that
the whole situation is pretty straight forward.
By being proactive with our sustainability agenda we can impact on
our triple bottom line: profit, people and the planet:
We want to attract and retain the best employees. People are
interested in working for successful and responsible organisations
who lead on topics such as green issues. We encourage our
employees to adopt more green practices in their home as well as
their working lives.
Our clients will place more business with us if we operate a
sustainable business and offer them solutions to create sustainable
By trying to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment
around us we protect the planet for future use. There are easy and
practical steps that we can all take that increases the success of
the business and protects the planet at the same time.
We started measuring our carbon footprint in 2005/6.
In the 12 months up to September 2008, our carbon footprint per
tonne of steel has reduced by 9%. Overall, we have achieved a
reduction of 15% over the last 2 years.
Joint Managing Director
Year by year - CO2 content per tonne of steel
Joint managing Director
2005/2006 2006/2007 2007/2008
Methodology : a closer look
Our requirement was to quantify the carbon dioxide footprint for
all our operations and review this annually to ensure we are
acheiving reductions. As a result, we categorised our
operations into 2 key footprints:
Manufacturing operations footprint
The carbon dioxide emissions resulting from fabrication of hot-
rolled structural steel members.
Business operations footprint
The carbon dioxide emissions from non-manufacturing
operations including administration, design and drawing
operations, marketing and business development etc.
We also recognised that we must acknowledge the impacts from
the ‘cradle’ i.e. the mining of resources, iron ore, up to the point
where the steel is erected on site.
Therefore, we also calculated carbon footprint data for erected
hot-rolled primary structural steel and cold-rolled secondary steel
With the help of the SCI (Steel Construction Institute) and
dcarbon8, a carbon consultancy, we were able to work to a
‘check list’ to simplify the process, therefore capturing the
appropriate data for the carbon footprint assessment. From this,
the information is broken down into a series of data tables; the
figures are then used to calculate our footprint.
The exact same procedure was used the first and second year;
therefore the readings can be accurately compared to give an
overall percentage year on year.
2009 : our sustainable results
To be successful, we need to think holistically and strategically about
sustainability. That's why our ability to put together smarter systems
is so important to us as a business.
Our business approach is about becoming more focussed. Only by
running our operations in a more integrated way can we capitalise
on the advantages that come from being a successful UK business.
Our ability to innovate, evolve and improve has consistently driven
our performance. And it's this same drive we use to address our
impact on the environment.
We know that the world’s use of resources cannot continue and we
at Barretts need to make a positive contribution to reduce emission
levels. That's why year on year, we have stepped up our efforts to
research new solutions, technologies and materials, and to improve
our efficiency across our business operations.
Since first calculating our carbon footprint, we set up a series of
internal teams with employees from both our offices and
manufacturing facilities. The objective was to review what we do
and research how the company can ensure our carbon footprint is
reduced year on year. Every year, we review our biggest
contributors to our carbon footprint and address the issues through
This year, these teams include: Energy – our highest carbon
impact – we monitor our usage of electricity and gas and look at
ways to reduce it.
Paper reduction – looking at the whole process of how we source,
use and dispose or recycle paper in the business
Paint reduction – reducing the amount of paint used and disposed of
in our manufacturing process.
Through these forums, each team implemented a number of
initiatives and monitored their progress.
Below are some examples of how we have done this throughout
2008 and 2009.
Electricity is the largest contributing factor in the manufacturing
footprint. Initiatives have been put into place by the energy
team to reduce usage in 2009/2010.
We made alterations to our power supply that will keep
kilowatts to a minimum.
Other initiatives include very simple changes, such as cleaning
skylights in our fabrication works and monitoring closure of
factory doors when not in use to keep heat in.
Paper usage in a business is one aspect that is taken for
granted.Through a number of initiatives, we have managed to
reduce paper usage per employee by almost half since 2006.
This was done through communicating the best format to print,
printing 2 sheets to one A4, not printing unnecessary sheets
and providing the most efficient printing software for all
employees so there is flexibility when printing.
All companies have an element of waste from offcuts of
material in their manufacturing outlets to paper usage within
their office, Barrett Steel Buildings are no different. We
recognise this is contributing to our footprint unfavourably and
also costs us money to dispose of therefore our waste forum
have sought ways to reduce this impact.
We are currently working with NISP (National Industrial
Symbiosis Programme)* to review all waste created in our
manufacturing process to see if it can be more effectively
recycled or revised by other organisations.
Over the past year, we have looked at more sustainable
methods for painting from the type of paint we use to reducing
paint wastage. New methods that have been put in place have
meant we have already seen a reduction in our VOC’s (Volatile
Organic Compounds) by 17%.
By improved systems and training we have reduced paint waste
created by 70% since 2007.
Our sustainable operations : the benefits to
Our carbon knowledge and sustainable expertise means
we are able to offer an innovative service to you from
design right through to project completion.
Reduce : Recycle : Reuse
At the design stage we will provide value engineering
to maximise potential reduction of materials.
We can assess ways to minimise welding and
notching and maximising bolting, so that fittings can
be easily removed and the building deconstructed in
We have third party audited carbon footprints, so we
are able to purchase offsets to enable your structures
to be carbon neutral.
Please contact us to discuss how we can assist you
with any of these options.
Steel : Questions and Answers
Our team at Barrett Steel Buildings is frequently asked what are
the sustainable benefits of steel as well as its recycled content?
Below we’ve put together a selection of some of the main
questions asked, the answer which have been collated together
by the BCSA (British Steelwork Constructional Association).
Is steel construction sustainable?
Steel is arguably the most sustainable of the major structural materials.
It has numerous sustainability benefits, which are guaranteed to be
realised whenever steel is used. They include: low waste, flexibility,
offsite manufacture, speed, resource efficiency, adaptability,
demountability, long lasting appeal, safety, reusability and recyclability.
These inherent characteristics result in many social, environmental and
economic benefits to satisfy sustainability’s ‘triple bottom line’.
What are the sustainability benefits of steel during construction?
Steel is a fast, safe construction material. Reduced time on site means
lower costs, quicker returns and less disruption to the local community.
Steel is manufactured offsite in a safe, factory environment and arrives
on site when needed, making it predictable with no unpleasant
surprises. There is no site waste and any waste that is generated
earlier in the process is easily returned to the steel supply chain. Steel
treads lightly on the ground. It has high strength to weight ratio and is
resource efficient. Fewer deliveries mean reduced emissions.
What are the sustainability benefits of steel at end of life?
Steel structures are inherently reusable in full or part. Whole buildings
can be taken down and rebuilt elsewhere or individual elements can be
reused. An increasing number of buildings are being designed with this
in mind, but reuse is an option for steel structures without any special
provision. Any steel which is not reused is captured and recycled for
further use in construction or elsewhere.
How much steel is recycled?
Over 500 million tonnes of steel are multicycled worldwide each year –
equivalent to 180 Eiffel Towers every day. The recovery rates are high.
Research shows that 99% of structural steel arising from demolition
sites in the UK is recycled or re-used. There is a conservative estimate
that over 80% of all steel scrap that becomes available each year is
captured and recycled. This figure increases in poorer economies
where the relative value of steel is higher.
Should steel be specified by recycled content?
Recycled content is a driver to encourage recycling of materials which
would otherwise be disposed of. However, it is not a suitable driver for
metals that are already recovered and recycled close to their
maximum. Specifying recycled content for steel does not have any
beneficial environmental effect, but can distort the market and result
in unnecessary transport costs and emissions. All steel is recyclable
and will be multicycled many times without any artificial stimulus.
What figure should be used as the recycled content of structural
steel in the UK?
Recycled content varies by process route. Most large scale modern
steelmaking processes produce steel with a significant recycled
content, as scrap steel is a standard input. When a figure is needed
to calculate overall recycled content of a building, the Waste
Resource Action Programme (WRAP) recommends applying a value
of 60% recycled content for structural steel sourced in the UK.
What are the economic sustainable benefits of steel?
It is accepted that, to be sustainable, a solution needs a sound
economic basis. Steel is fast, efficient, predictable and safe.
Production is highly automated and site operations are not labour
intensive. Steel is the cost effective solution and delivers long term
value through flexibility, adaptability and lasting appeal.
Is there a lot of waste material from steel production?
Corus’ processes have been refined over many years to ensure that
the consumption of materials within them is optimised. Although a
high level of conversion efficiency is achieved, a small amount of
waste will inevitably be generated. The vast majority of ferrous waste
is re-incorporated immediately back into the steel production chain.
Uses have been found for many of the other wastes and by-products
in other sectors of industry. For example about 3 million tonnes of
ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) is used annually as a
cement replacement, which helps to reduce the high carbon footprint
How much steel goes into landfill?
Almost no steel or indeed any metal is ever intentionally wasted. It is
valuable, so throwing away metal is like throwing away money. A
recent survey indicated that no more than 1% of structural steel ever
goes to landfill. The rest is multicycled indefinitely.
Further information on the credentials of steel in
sustainable construction can be found in the
Appendices of the Corus publication, Sustainable Steel
They are listed under the headings:
The steel sector’s commitment to sustainability;
Steel’s sustainable construction credentials;
Steel’s waste credentials;
The advantages of steel in lean construction;
The contribution of steel to efficient design and construction;
The role of steel in respecting people and their local
More information : Contact us
For any further information about our sustainability initiatives,
Gemma Lennon, Business Development Manager
Sue Sharples, Joint Managing Director
Barrett Steel Buildings
Barrett Court, 310 Cutler Heights Lane,
Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD4 9HZ
p. 01274 266 800
BARRETT STEEL BUILDINGS LTD