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Wednesday @ Footprint+
Hot picks and views on my first day at the event
Although I only arrived in Brighton today, the event was already in full swing - this was in fact day two of three. For me, it was a largely steel focused day.
The breakfast ThinkTank hosted by Arcelor Mittal was a deep dive into their processes, capital investments and current product range. I was keen to learn about XCarb as this is as product I am considering procuring on one of my Grosvenor projects. Arcelor Mittal are clearly a leader in this space with an excellent product range, but it was alarming to hear that bureaucratic UK/EU Brexit rules are (to some extent, not sure how much) behind the lack of Electric Arc Furnaces in the UK!
Elliott Wood’s Penny Gowler talked in their ThinkTank session about how wider consideration is needed across projects and portfolios. This could span water usage, flood risk, location (think transport impacts), longevity and data. Essentially the message was about making well informed decisions, that are not always project specific but sometimes wider reaching. GPE’s Martin Quinn was part of the same session and explained how they now approach development by considering one of three approaches: 1) reuse and extend, 2) low carbon new build, and 3) circular economy new build.
At another steel session called Virgin Steel, the panel talked about decarbonising the primary steel manufacturing sector (a nod back to Arcelor Mittal), but also the role of the designer to drive efficiency of material use through design - tighter utilisation, more efficient grids, well informed/considered loading parameters etc.
Finally I heard about concrete, although the real focus was on the carbon intensive cement that is used to make it. I heard a repeat of the message about driving efficiency through design, but the key takeaway for me was that there are a lot of products coming to market that can reduce CEM 1 content or replace it altogether.
My Event - Steel Reuse
We had a good audience interaction with a decent amount of Q&A. I also appreciated those that stuck around afterwards to continue the conversation - clearly we’d hit some of the right notes.
The four things I took away from the session were:
There is strong appetite for a reuse marketplace for steel and other key building materials
The ambition to reuse material must be set early as it filters through an entire project, whether that is related to programme, cost, spacial planning or procurement.
Steel reuse isn’t just about reusing/salvaging everything from a building - each project or scenario is different, so you have to weight up a number of factors. Sometimes it just won’t be cost effective to extract steel to reuse as it is, and instead it will be better to consider it as scrap and send it to an EAF facility which is hungry for scrap.
The process isn’t perfect, yet. But the more we do this, the more we learn. Sharing knowledge is important.
A look to tomorrow
Tomorrow I’ll learn more about offsetting, waste heat in cities and supply chain circularity.