Are Steel Buildings Good for the Environment?

Norsteel Buildings. Image Credit: Norsteel Buildings.

Last week we touched on some of the benefits of steel, arguing that, when compared to other building materials, it can be good for the environment.  Today, we’re going to explore that concept in greater detail.

In addition to being affordable and dependable, steel is a preferred choice among many “green” builders.  Using steel as a building material helps slow deforestation.  Also, steel is partially comprised of recycled materials – some buildings contain as much as 60% recycled material, and nearly 100% of a steel building is recyclable.  Traditionally, brick and wood buildings end up in landfills once disassembled.  Steel, on the other hand, can be melted down and used again, minimizing junk yard waste.  Steel is also far more durable than some of its counterparts.  Its ability to withstand harsh climates and temperatures reduces the need for constant repair, saving additional construction waste and cost.

There’s also the matter of heating and cooling.  Steel is excellent at insulating – meaning they use less energy and they’re more water efficient.  In fact, studies have shown that buildings with steel metals roofs can save “up to 40 percent in energy usage” – leading to reduced air conditioning and heating costs. What’s more, steel buildings can easily accommodate solar roofing and rainwater collection devices, providing another level of environmental (and cost) efficiency.

Natural materials can decompose quickly and lead to the development of mould – which can lead to illness, discomfort and costly repairs.  Steel buildings tend to have better air quality, due to the fact that mould cannot develop within it.  Air tends to flow better through steel buildings, which results in cleaner, fresher air.

In addition to the inherent environmentally-friendly properties of this material, the steel industry has been working to decrease its carbon footprint and maximize the environmental efficiency of steel.  According to the Steel Network, the American steel sector is “recognized as having the steepest decline of total air emissions among nine manufacturing sectors studied in EPA’s 2008 Sector Performance Report.”

Contact us to learn more about the benefits of steel.


1 Response to “Are Steel Buildings Good for the Environment?”

  1. 1 Cooling a Steel Building « Norsteel Trackback on May 17, 2011 at 9:07 am

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