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Steel Construction
3 minutes min

Plasterboard's Role in Decarbonising Construction

Posted on 30.03.2023 - updated on: 14.03.2024
Steel Construction

As we move with increased vigour to a decarbonised and efficient construction industry, all aspects of the processes play a role, and manufacturers have the opportunity to make use of steel in the interior fit-out phase that, even though not seen, contributes to the lowering of CO2 emissions.


Steel profiles form the backbone of an interior designer's final fit-out execution; however, the occupant of the structure is seldom sensitised to the impact and importance of the framing. As a functional component of a wall or ceiling system, the tendency is to drive minimal fit-for-purpose design, manufacture, and transport. This approach potentially runs the risk of being out of step with the all-important drive to decarbonise.

What impacts do steel profiles make?

Saint-Gobain Technical Research Centres have researched the topic as part of the entire group’s commitment to reach a Net Zero carbon footprint for construction products supplied. Within the group’s plasterboard and building plaster solutions contribution, steel contributes a significant 22% of CO2 emissions of the group’s product portfolio. The opportunities to reduce this are being actively pursued.

Steel as a material is by its very nature an ideal contributor to the circular economy; recycled continuously, along with the addition of ore in the first stages of production, offers value and positive economic impact. However, there is a downside to the recycling of the material; high energy consumption for products and transport-related emissions.

At each step, from responsible and efficient extraction of iron ore, carbon, nickel, phosphorous, manganese and silicon to the end-of-life processing of steel profiles, exponential reduction in overall CO2 emissions is achievable.

Are all steel profiles equal?

Quite simply no, specifically in the ceiling and partition environment. A range of approaches to the design of studs, tracks and ceilings is followed. Additionally, work hardening that allows for gauge reduction, delivers a range of performance improvements, determined by the technique employed. Another aspect influencing ultimate performance is the approach taken to corrosion resistance. This spans non-passivated zinc passivated and alu-zinc-coated steel in varied coat thickness.

Balancing cost and CO2 footprint

Saint-Gobain Africa applies world-class manufacturing and design actions to develop products and solutions that range from supply chain optimisation, to packaging and transportation. Reduction of profile weight without compromising performance and the specific definition and identification of fit-for-purpose and high-end performance profiles reflect the commitment of the group to reaching Zero Carbon emissions milestones. The Saint-Gobain group have set a measurable and realistic goal for the reduction of emissions by 2030 with the ultimate target of reaching Net Zero by 2050.

Profiles sold under the Gypframe® brand name by Gyproc in South Africa and the surrounding territories will impact positively your project’s overall carbon footprint, today and increasingly in years to come.