Royal Adelaide Hospital leads the way in sustainability
Royal Adelaide Hospital has recently been recognised as one of the first large-scale hospital complexes in the country to receive a 4 Star Green Star - Healthcare as Built rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
“Royal Adelaide Hospital is part of a steadily expanding group of public projects that delivering shared value through sustainable building practice,” GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew, has said.
“Nationwide, the number of healthcare facilities pursuing Green Star certification is now well into double digits, reflecting the growing recognition that sustainable design can boost efficiencies in hospitals while also actively contributing to better patient outcomes.”
“Research from the World Green Building Council has shown that incorporating green design in hospital infrastructure can deliver an 8.5% reduction in hospital stays, 15% faster recovery rates, a 22% reduction in the need for pain medication and an 11% reduction in secondary infections,” she continues.
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“Green Star buildings deliver significant savings, producing 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and using 66% less electricity than average Australian buildings. The sustainability elements of Royal Adelaide Hospital add up to hugely improved amenity for patients, visitors and staff.”
The site encompasses up to 3.8 hectares of landscaped environment, including more than 70 internal themed courtyards and sky gardens across the hospital's nine levels, such as the Spinal Garden and an Aboriginal Garden, creating a 1.6-hectare footprint of green space within the hospital.
With the aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the hospital has sought to optimise natural daylight to boost energy efficiency, and also utilise high efficiency water fittings, where water is captured and recycled throughout the facility. An onsite cogeneration system provides the required heating to the building.
The Royal Adelaide Hospital sits alongside the state's other leading Green Star healthcare facilities including the Lyell McEwin Hospital's Inpatient Building and the Flinders Medical Centre.
“Together with broader energy measures, these projects are moving South Australia further down the path towards the zero emissions future to which we are all committed,' added Madew.
Why are steel prices on the rise?
Steel is an essential material for all businesses in the construction industry. From cars to buildings and everything in between, it is a valuable resource but, as recently discovered, it is also becoming more expensive, especially in the United States. But why is this?
COVID-19 is the biggest cause of the rise in steel prices. The pandemic, in turn, has disrupted supply chains meaning steel as a material could not be shipped to construction sites, and that resulted in a higher price. However, once the height of the several lockdowns subsided, the price of steel remained high, even though those in the US steel industry expected it to drop.
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (ASI), the US steel capacity utilisation rate has “remained at or above pre-pandemic levels of 80pc” for the last three weeks. This suggests that there is more steel available for buyers in a previously supply-constrained market.
During this time, the US Midwest hot-rolled coil (HRC) assessment by Argus Media increased by 2pc, or US$33.75/short ton (st). According to Argus, this is similar to a typical pre-pandemic price increase, which was US$40/st when announced by steelmakers. This price hike, which has seen steel costs quadruple since August 2020, continues onwards, leaving many people in the industry wondering what will happen in the future.
However, according to Argus Media, the Indiana-based electric arc furnace (EAF) minimill steelmaker Steel Dynamics (SDI) expects “post record profits” in the second quarter and that continued demand and "historically low flat roll steel inventories" will lead to even stronger third-quarter results.
Currently, though, the high steel prices mean that very few construction companies are looking to restock their supply of the material, meaning a delay to certain projects.
The automotive industry
One industry that’s been negatively impacted in particular is the automotive sector. Carmakers in North America have been dealing with disruption to their semiconductor production line for almost half a year, resulting in volumes at some steel processors being significantly reduced. In finding a solution, some car manufacturers, such as Ford, have looked at the idea of idled auto production online, although this is still in the early stages of development.
According to Cox Automotive,1.78mn new vehicles were manufactured in coming into June which is only a 35-day supply, and one of the lowest levels of production in history. By comparison, new car inventory was at 2.24mn at the end of April 2021.
This could mean automakers’ demand for steel reduces if the price remains, further constricting the spot steel market. It is clear that the rising price of steel is having a substantial impact on the industries that rely on it.
Fossil-free steel rolling
Partnering with Ovako, Volvo, Hitachi ABB, and H2 Green Steel, Nel ASA has today announced that it is planning a fossil-free hydrogen facility for steel rolling and milling operations in Hofors, Sweden.
The conversion to green hydrogen in the production process aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the facility by 50% from current levels with possibilities for future development of hydrogen infrastructure for transportation, the company said.
The initiative will focus on developing a fossil-free steel production facility, with the intention of taking the first step towards creating a future hydrogen infrastructure for the transport sector. The investment of approximately SEK180mn is supported by the Swedish Energy Agency via the Industriklivet initiative and will create significant benefits for the wider society from multiple perspectives.
Jon André Løkke, Chief Executive Officer of Nel ASA, said: “"We will work collaboratively together to make this project a success, based on the joint learnings we will standardize the overall solution and ensure that this can be replicated in different locations all across Europe”.