BlueScope's next generation COLORBOND steel has taken out the Innovation of the Year category at the 2014 Sustainability Awards, praised by the jury for consistently making improvements in the realm of performance and sustainability.

The product was selected over nine other finalists, including the DESSO Airmaster with DESSO EcoBase backing, which was highly commended by the jury for its inspirational cradle to cradle, closed loop material cycle.

According to the judges, the winning award was made to BlueScope because “the company has continued a process of significantly improving both the longevity and performance of the ubiquitous Colorbond product, while dramatically reducing its environmental impact during manufacture.”

“This major investment in our environment by an Australian company which enjoys major market share (in a difficult market), shows it is not content to sit on its laurels, and that its commitment to sustainability goes beyond the demands of short term profitability,” they add.

COLORBOND steel is a high-volume building product extensively utilised in Australia’s residential, commercial and industrial markets. Its cradle-to-grave environmental impact was substantially reduced through a new innovation that made proprietary changes to the product’s underlying metal coating.

These changes have delivered an increased lifespan despite using fewer metal resources – benefits verified by a life cycle assessment (LCA), as well as extensive product testing.

Next generation COLORBOND steel is also 100 per cent recyclable, and once its useful life is complete, it is easily removed from a building. On average, COLORBOND is made using 25 per cent recovered steel content, including 15 per cent (on average) of the total mass of pre- and post-consumer recycled material.

Other features of the product include the inclusion of Thermatech technology, which helps to reduce the amount of heat entering a building through the roof. COLORBOND steel can also be used as a roofing product in Australia for the catchment of rainwater for drinking, meeting the AS/NZS 4020 ‘Products for use in contact with drinking water’.

Key initiatives:

  • The addition of two magnesium compounds to the original zinc and aluminium coating improves the galvanic action of the zinc, and enables the aluminium in the coating to more actively protect the base steel. This is a world first application for coated steel building products
  • LCA was used to guide the design process of the new metallic coating, and BlueScope has used independent LCA to verify the reduced environmental impact of its latest version of COLORBOND steel. It was conducted in compliance with OSP 14040 and 14044, and subjected to critical review
  • BlueScope also commissioned a comparative LCA of the new and previous-generation COLORBOND steel products as roofing for 1,000sqm of commercial/industrial space. The result showed an improvement across all 18 environmental impact categories assessed as a result of decreased use of metal coating resources and a longer product lifespan. This included reductions in metal, fossil and water depletion, and impacts on air, water, land and human health. 
  • New COLORBOND steel and its metallic substrate have been subjected to extensive testing to ensure that it is a genuinely longer lasting product
  • BlueScope is backing the improved corrosion resistance of its next generation COLORBOND steel with a warranty regime that offers some significant improvements compared with those offered for original COLORBOND steel. The maximum warranty period represents an increase of up to six years over the maximum warranty period offered for original COLORBOND steel.

Click here to see all the winners and commendations for 2014. You can also view articles on all the finalists in the Innovation of the Year category here.

Check out all 70 finalists in the interactive video below: