When thinking about, planning, designing, and then executing your building’s design, its environmental impact must also be taken into consideration. The word of the decade is “eco-friendly,” and its importance only grows as humans explore and discover new ways to protect the environment. This ranges from reusable water bottles to recycling trash to using renewable resources in your business, from building to project to production. Steel has become the leading building material, paving a greener, more environmentally-friendly path forward. It has been recognized under several US green building code standards, including the LEEDS program under the US Green Building Council and the National Green Building Standard. This makes steel a certifiable green material, but what are the attributes that make it so environmentally friendly?
1- Steel is Recycled and Recyclable
Steel is manufactured from recycled materials. This means that when the steel has met its lifespan (which is very long-lasting and will be addressed as you continue reading), it can be broken down and recycled again and again and again. The beauty is that a steel door doesn’t have to become a door again. When recycled, it can be molded and formed to be whatever is needed, whether that be a beam, a section of wall, or an appliance. This life cycle of steel results in much less waste finding its way into landfills or, even worse, the environment, where it becomes a hazard for humans, animals, and nature.
2- Steel Helps Reduce Energy Usage
Steel is easy to insulate, reducing the building’s energy strain to provide your business with an appropriate temperature. When a building is properly insulated, it is easier to heat in the winter and cool in the summer without turning the thermostat too high or too low to accommodate. This is helpful because it reduces your energy bills while also reducing the number of greenhouse gas emissions coming from your building. Greenhouse emissions are gases in the atmosphere that increase a planet’s temperature, causing it to rise. A large percentage of these gases is Carbon Dioxide, caused by various human activities. Reducing these emissions is of utmost importance to humanity and the environment.
Another perk of steel buildings having the ability to reduce their energy usage is the placement of solar panels on their roofs. Lower electricity costs and use of natural renewable energy is a win-win situation for both you and the planet.
3- Steel is Easier and Faster to Assemble, Using Less Waste
Your business being built quickly is a dream come true, but what does being easier and faster to assemble have to do with the environment? Steel is manufactured in bulk, so supplies for your building show up all at once, not in increments. There are also many steel facilities throughout the US, so there is a higher chance you are able to obtain building resources from a local business. Both of these aspects help reduce the carbon footprint made when delivering the materials to the job site. Steel buildings are often easier and faster to assemble because workers don’t have to use extra time, energy, and waste building forms for the construction of the frame. The materials arrive, and the work begins. If you’re looking to reduce even more waste, purchasing a building kit is the way to go, as there won’t be any extra pieces to dispose of.
4- Steel is Long-Lasting
The durability of steel gives it longevity many other building materials can’t boast of. This attribute adds to its eco-friendly nature through minimal upkeep and maintenance, allowing ease of mind and security moving forward into the future. Steel buildings last, and the less repair or removal you have to do, the better for both your business and the environment.
5- Looking to the Future
The steel industry is continuously looking at environmentally-friendly manufacturing and practices to put in place. The past 30 years have seen a tremendous effort brought forth to use recycled and sustainable materials. In the United States alone, over a billion tons of scrap metal has been recycled and reused. When looking at green building standards, different components are taken into consideration: water, energy, emissions, and materials. Looking at the points already discussed, the use of steel as a green building material has been validated several times over. As an owner, whether running a business or living inside your steel building, you can become aware of energy-saving methods that can take place inside as well. The eco-friendly structure of your business needs to proclaim sustainability and renewability, but the inside of your building must follow the same standards in order to make a true green impact.
Using steel to build your business is an important step toward sustaining the environment along with your livelihood. Having a building that is durable, resilient, long-lasting, eco-friendly, less wasteful, energy efficient, and recyclable paves the way for a cleaner, more productive environment and preserves your business for as long as you wish.
Amanda Stockwell is a freelance writer, knowledgeable in many subjects, specifically steel buildings. She has an MFA from Stephens College, is a mother to two, and wife to an Air Force pilot, and when she’s not writing and editing, she can be found reading or baking.