Beyond Greenwashing: Steel Buildings with 40% Less Carbon

Efficiency in design and manufacturing can go hand-in-hand with environmental sustainability. You just have to have the right mindset. In the quest for creating better buildings and a more efficient business, Donovan Group has landed on a solution that creates buildings with a remarkable 40% less embodied carbon.


Donovan Group’s tapered box beam, DonoBeam, expands the possibilities of building large volume, wide span, unobstructed spaces – making it a highly attractive option for those constructing large buildings such as warehouses, data centres, and hangars.

It can achieve this because its tapered design is light and strong: DonoBeam is specifically tapered to reduce the amount of steel needed for any given design without reducing structural integrity.

The process of concept, design and assembly is simplified and streamlined so that from freight deliveries to forklift trips and cups of coffee consumed, environmental impact is minimised.  Even the process of assembling the pre-fabricated frames on site is planned with an eye to minimising trips, reduced packaging, no onsite welding, all with an emphasis of stepping lightly on the earth.

“We are all about efficiency in steel construction and we don’t take this lightly,” says Chief Executive Officer Matt Woodley.  “Donovan Group can construct a building with 40% less embodied carbon – it’s a startling statistic in an era where steel construction has traditionally been second only to concrete for carbon emissions.”

This statistic has been verified through the 2021 Building 4.0 CRC study project undertaken at Monash University in Melbourne, where researchers concluded that the potential environmental benefits of DonoBeam structures, when compared to traditional systems, equalled savings of up to 47.5 per cent in steel emissions, and up to 32 per cent in transport emissions.

“Most businesses are trying to do their very best for the environment, this sort of saving over the lifespan of one building equates to millions of miles driven in a car, a huge amount of power consumption. It’s a decision that will pay off for decades across the life of the building,” he says.

One of the founding directors of Donovan Group Kyle Donovan says: “We developed a system of construction that was better and we have woven carbon reduction into our fabric. We do more for less – with our structural systems, our software, and business processes. It shows there is hope and Donovan Group is part of the solution.”

Matt agrees: “Construction is a major contributor to carbon emissions in the world. By encouraging use of and expanding market penetration of DonoBeam structures we can make a really significant contribution to a better future.”

“This is not greenwashing. It is here and now. We really do live it, it’s part of what we do with every building, every day.”

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