Steel profiles form the backbone of interior designers’ 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, manufacturing and transport. This approach potentially has 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 the 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, it offers value and a positive economic impact. However, there is a downside to the recycling of the material – high-energy consumption for product and transport-related emissions.

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

Are all steel profiles equal?

Quite simply no, specifically in the ceiling and partition environment. A range of approaches to the design of stud, track and ceiling is followed. Additionally, work hardening that allows for gauge reduction delivers a range of performance improvements, determined by the technique employed.

Another aspect influencing the ultimate performance is the approach taken to corrosion resistance. This includes non-passivated, zinc-passivated and alu-zinc coated steel in varied coat thicknesses.

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, through to packaging and transportation. The reduction of the 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 emission milestones. The Saint-Gobain group has set measurable and realistic goals 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 on your project’s overall carbon footprint, today and increasingly in years to come.

For more information, contact Saint-Gobain Construction Products head office:
Tel: +27 12 657 8200
Website:, or

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