Are you building or buying a new house or commercial space? In today’s world, it’s very important to consider all the effects your move can have on the environment. When it comes to building materials, there are many which are green and energy-efficient, and believe it or not, steel is one of them. Let’s take a look at all the reasons why steel is a good building material for the environment and why it’s smart to use it today:
When compared to some other construction materials, steel is more efficient when holding a building standing. Structural steel is usually loaded with carbon, but even other types of steel (stainless, galvanized, mild) can bare heavy loads. All steel is strong and durable and can withstand high winds, rain, fire and earthquakes. It also doesn’t crack, warp, split and twist. It’s designed to withstand much abuse from the elements and humans.
Probably the first reason why people think steel is environmentally friendly is its ability to be recycled. Actually, steel is the most recycled material, even more recycled than plastic or glass, with millions of tons going through the process every year. Thanks to its metallurgic properties, steel can be recycled without any degradation at all. What this means is that it can be melted down and turned into a product as many times as we want—all that without losing any of its properties.
The fact that steel can be recycled means that it automatically has a reduced environmental impact. Let’s take steel cans as an example. When they are made with recycled steel, they require 75% less energy than those made with raw materials. In addition, by recycling just 1 kg of steel, we prevent the release of 2 kg of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Also, recycling keeps steel away from landfills, thus preventing the overfill of these polluting sites.
Steel tends to produce less waste, and that’s one of the most important reasons why it’s a green material for all of our building needs. Let’s say you’re ordering your materials from a structural steel supplier in Sydney and you’re talking on the phone with their amazing workers. They will help you order exactly the amount of steel you need, all thanks to the detailed calculations and drawings the team will provide you with. What this ensures is that, unlike brick or wood, steel will leave you with little to no waste at all. Thanks to expert engineers, designers and welders, your structure will be done in no time and no waste you have to worry about.
Reusability of resources
Steel production uses a lot of water, mostly in the cooling process, but also for cleaning and removing scaling. During these processes, the water used becomes contaminated, but not enough that these impurities can’t be removed with filtration. This makes 98% of the water used in steel production completely reusable. Another resource that we’re left with after steel production is slag—a stony product leftover from smelting the ore. In the past, this byproduct was dumped, but today, it is almost entirely reused in the cement industry.
Did you know that steel buildings are great for saving energy? They are energy-efficient both in summer and winter. Firstly, steel is strong, which means it can support heavier and bulkier insulation. With proper insulation, you can save a lot of energy trying to keep your building warm in the winter with heaters, air conditioners and fireplaces. In the summer, you can enjoy reduced humidity and better air quality, so you don’t have to run air purifiers and dehumidifiers.
Besides saving energy through improved insulation, steel can also do one other thing: support plenty of solar panels and give you our own grid. With solar panels, you can add great value to your property while also reducing your bills. Essentially, you don’t have to pay for the energy that you’re creating yourself. And since energy is getting more scarce and expensive by the year, this might be the best investment you can make, as long as you have a steel structure to support the extra weight.
No chemicals and toxins
If you’re worried about the emission of toxins and chemicals, it’s good to know that steel products do not produce any. Other materials release a lot of waste products during the production process, but steel doesn’t produce any toxic runoff. Also, when using steel in homes and commercial buildings, it’s good to know that it won’t emit any dangerous gases if exposed to excess heat or similar extreme elements.
As you can see, steel really is a green building material that can provide a lot of good for humans and the environment. It’s durable, strong, recyclable, reusable and safe to be around. So next time you’re building or buying a property, make sure to invest in something made with this amazing alloy and reap the benefits long into the future.