The Environmental Benefits of Steel Buildings

Why so Eco? The construction phase:

It is not only economy and durability that make steel framed buildings such an attractive proposition for businesses. Neither is it all about their simplicity of use, or rapid turnover time from ordering to delivery and construction. No, the fact is that steel framed buildings also yield an environmental benefit that should soothe the conscience as well as boosting your company’s green profile.

Save for the deliriously evil Mr Burns, the boss of Homer Simpson’s place of employment, Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, most of us want to do our bit for the environment. Not only does it safeguard the beauty and viability of our local area and ensure people want to live there but it is also vital if we are going to save our planet. Often, business goals and environmental objectives are at odds but when it comes to industrial steel buildings there is rare and beautiful symbiosis.

The frames for steel buildings are lightweight but incredibly strong. The thin gauge, high tensile steel leads to an incredibly high efficiency ratio. There is no over-engineering as steel is a predictable material so the need for superfluous material to be factored in is eradicated from the design process. There is also reduced scrap material on the building site as little to no cutting is required.

Steel might not be the first material that springs to mind when we conjure images of environmentally friendly edifices, but when directly compared to a timber framed building of comparable size the steel option uses a lot less raw materials and resources to construct. Removing the need for trees, which take environmental resources to grow as well as the many man hours to hone into building grade materials, steel buildings take less time and energy to source, last longer and are easier to maintain. The manufacturing process of a steel framed building utilises less water and also produces less CO2 emissions than for its wooden counterpart. The time spent constructing a steel framed building is also considerably less than for a wooden-framed equivalent, as many components are pre-fabricated, meaning less stress on the environment as well, not to mention the cost-saving benefits.

Why so Eco? Post-construction:

Once you have your completed steel framed building – that is when some of the energy efficient properties come into their own. You should have been able to tailor-make a building that benefits from a fine blend of optimal insulation, cooling and heating systems and with this heady mix you could be saving around 50% of the energy that you might have used in a different building. The durability of the steel construct should minimise the need for costly repairs and in the rare instance that something needs doing the materials are relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to source and cheap to implement. All yielding additional environmental (carbon) benefits. Nothing lasts forever and with a steel framed building you can rest easy in the knowledge that steel is 100% recyclable and steel recycling programs exist that lead to a reduction in the mountain of solid waste and aid in the conservation effort.

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