Recycled Steel: Embedding Circularity in Insulated Metal Panels

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Circular strategies are critical to reducing material consumption and lowering greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). For manufacturers like Kingspan, a key part of circularity involves designing out waste and reducing demand for raw materials. One of the key materials that contributes to the circularity of our insulated metal panels is steel.
 
Durable and 100% recyclable, steel aligns with the push to a more circular economy. Once produced, steel becomes a permanent resource that can be continuously recycled into new steel to make products such as steel beams, refrigerators and insulated metal wall and roof panels.
 
In the U.S. alone, there are typically 60 to 80 million tons of steel scrap recycled per year into new steel products. That’s enough steel scrap to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year. The nation’s steel sustainability story is even stronger considering that U.S. steel producers are 75-320% more carbon efficient when comparing COemissions from global producers, according to the Climate Leadership Council
 
At Kingspan, waste panels from the manufacturing process are deconstructed in order to recycle the steel facings. In fact, 100% of the steel recovered from waste panels from our five North American plants is collected and melted down for re-use in other forms. 
 
In the drive toward circularity, Kingspan is also working with steel supply chain partners to reduce manufacturing carbon emissions to as close to zero as technically possible. In North America, we are seeking to sourcing steel only from EAF (Electric Arc Furnace) mills, which are roughly 75% less carbon intensive compares to the old BOF (Blast Oxygen Furnace) mill technology.


In April of this year Kingspan announces an investment in H2 Green Steel (‘H2GS’), a company pioneering new green production methods for steel manufacturing using hydrogen. The new source of steel is an important element in Kingspan’s Planet Passionate sustainability strategy, an industry-leading decarbonization program with a goal to halve carbon intensity in Kingspan’s primary supply chain.
 
H2GS’s production process replaces coke and coal with green hydrogen to achieve an almost a totally CO2-free steel product. The process abates about 95% of the CO2 emissions associated with traditional blast furnaces steel makers: one ton of H2GS steel will emit less than 0.1 ton of CO2 compared to more than two tons of CO2 emitted producing a traditional ton of steel.
 
 
The 2021 Circularity Gap Report noted that through smart strategies and reduced material consumption, “the circular economy has the power to shrink global GHG emissions by 39% and cut virgin resource use by 28%.”
 
To do our part in advancing the circular economy and help create healthier, safer, net zero carbon buildings, Kingspan is committed to using circular, and responsibly sourced materials like recycled steel in our insulated metal panels.

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