Sustainability and the protection of the environment is becoming more and more important, both to the public and to those in industry.
With the construction sector facing the need to ensure that they are creating green buildings with sustainability in mind, using structural steel throughout a construction process makes sense both financially and environmentally – keeping buildings up to code and ready to last.
Green buildings are known to be healthier for their occupants, reduce the negative impact on the environment, and strive to have a positive impact on the immediate surroundings as well as globally. Using structural steel makes sense for the construction of green buildings. Not only is it the ultimate material in terms of reusing and recycling capabilities, but it also fits the dictionary definition of sustainability – it can be used without being used up or destroyed, it uses less energy and other natural resources, and it can last a lifetime if not more.
Why Choose Sustainable?
For any construction, choosing sustainable materials and practices not only ensures that buildings meet codes and regulations, but also means better ROI and less impact on the environment. Considering every stage of the construction process through the lens of environmental consciousness will help construction companies to make better choices.
Sustainable construction projects focus on using specifically environmentally friendly materials. These might include timber from managed forests, bamboo, and recycled plastics as well as created products like structural steel. Renewable energy should be considered throughout the project, from electric vehicles (like diggers and reach trucks), right through to solar or wind power being used to generate electricity when the building is completed.
Minimizing waste on site through separation of materials for robust recycling, precise cutting to reduce costly mistakes and wasted materials, and reusing items where possible is part of the sustainable construction practices that produce a finished building that has had much less impact on the environment.
Why is Steel So Special?
Steel is made from iron, which is the most abundant element on Earth. Creating the steel from iron ore is now much less energy intensive than it was even 20 years ago, and companies are innovating more ways to reduce this still further, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly process.
The main reason that structural steel is the ultimate sustainable building material is that it can be endlessly reused and recycled without losing any of its properties.
Most buildings that use structural steel in their construction are made in a ‘kit’ form, which means that they can be taken down, adjusted, made bigger or smaller, parts can be added and taken away, and the whole thing can be moved to a new site without losing integrity or usefulness.
Recycling steel is true recycling, as materials made from scrap steel are exactly the same in their properties. They can be used for the same purposes as primary steel. This is different from other recyclable materials like plastics, where the recycling process creates a downgrade of properties and means that the end product can only be used for lower-level applications.
The waste products that come from creating or recycling steel are can also be used for other purposes. The slags and sludges, and even the dust, can find new life in other construction processes like concrete replacements or creating aggregate.
Using Structural Steel in Construction
With sustainability in mind and a focus on environmental concerns, construction companies need to be thinking about the best materials for the job that are not detrimental to the surrounding environment. Structural steel, then, is a material that fits the sustainable ideology perfectly, being built to last, infinitely reusable and recyclable, and with less energy use or waste products.
Choosing steel as a framework for a green building of any kind gives long-lasting strength with the flexibility to meet the changing needs of the occupants, while protecting habitats and providing many options for reducing the impact on the environment.