Nucor eyes LEED certification for new mill

Nucor eyes LEED certification for new mill

EAF steel producer is pursuing green building status for its mill being built in Brandenburg, Kentucky.

September 26, 2022

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor Corp. says it has registered to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Version 4 (LEED v4) certification for its steel plate mill being built in Brandenburg, Kentucky.

The scrap-fed electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaker says Nucor Steel Brandenburg “is the first steel mill in the world to pursue certification under LEED v4, which is more stringent than previous LEED rating systems and ambitiously aligns each credit category with sustainable performance, climate change, and revolutionizes the manufacturing landscape through third-party transparency and reporting requirements.”

Leon Topalian, board chair, president and CEO of Nucor, says, “Sustainability has been at the core of Nucor’s business model since we first started making steel in the 1960s. Our recycling production method makes us one of the cleanest steelmakers in the world. LEED certification extends our sustainability efforts to the materials and operating system choices we make in constructing this new steel mill.”

The company says more than 75 percent of discarded construction materials generated while building the steel mill have been diverted from landfills. Sustainable building materials, many directly produced by Nucor divisions, have also been used in the construction of the mill.

In terms of other LEED features of the mill in Brandenburg, Nucor points to the “preservation of a large portion of forested area on the property, lighting reduction strategies, reduced parking footprint, support for green vehicles, and water and energy efficiency measures.”

“Our Nucor Steel Brandenburg team is proud to be the first Nucor mill to undertake LEED v4 certification,” says Johnny Jacobs, vice president and general manager of Nucor Steel Brandenburg. “We make our products in a sustainable way and these products, such as steel for offshore wind towers, are going to help build the green economy. It is only natural that we would construct this mill using sustainable materials and practices.”

The new $1.7 billion Nucor Steel Brandenburg facility has been designed to produce 1.2 million tons of steel plate annually and is expected to begin production at the end of this year. It will be able to produce 97 percent of plate products consumed domestically and will be one of only a few mills in the world capable of supplying “the critical steel components required to build offshore wind farms,” Nucor says.

The Washington-based United States Green Building Council created the LEED rating system in 1998 as a technique to move the construction industry toward “higher levels of sustainable design and construction,” Nucor says.

Operationally, Nucor says its use of recycled scrap-based EAF steelmaking means “Nucor’s steelmaking greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity is less than one-fourth of the global average and one-fifth of the average integrated steel producer.”