Big River Steel Becomes First Steel Production Process to Achieve LEED Certification

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Mar 01, 2017
Staff Reports

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is internationally recognized and the most widely used green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), that evaluates buildings and process loads that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated with a focus on environmental and human health attributes. Big River Steel’s commitment to sustainable principles allowed it to benefit from a campus approach to LEED certification which documented site-wide sustainable performance.

Big River Steel’s Flex Mill™, a steel mill that combines the wide product mix and superior grade capabilities of a more traditional integrated steel mill with the nimbleness and technological advancements of the newer more technologically-advanced mini mills, broke ground in July 2014 and began production in 2016.  Working with the environmental and energy consultants at Emerald Built Environments throughout the build process kept sustainability at the forefront of priorities. 

“Respecting the environment and safeguarding the welfare of our team members while building a profitable enterprise is at the core of what it means to be a Flex Mill™.  As more steel consumers look to source from steel producers that not only recycle but also do so with a focus on sustainability, Big River Steel will be well positioned,” said Dave Stickler, chief executive officer of Big River Steel.  

Working with Big River Steel’s lead technology supplier, SMS group headquartered in Germany,  Emerald Built Environments and Big River Steel processing engineers analyzed and modeled the Flex Mill’s™ operations compared to other steel production facilities to determine the energy efficiency of Big River Steel’s production process.  The use of variable speed motors throughout the compact strip production (CSP) process along with the installation of a comprehensive set of energy saving tools throughout the operation were the major factors that led to Big River Steel being the first steel making facility to earn a LEED certification. 

"Big River Steel has shown tremendous leadership with their innovative work and technological advances in sustainable practices through the use of LEED,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Industrial facilities have become a cornerstone for the green building movement thanks to the growing adoption of LEED and sustainable practices in this sector."

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