Most people think of organic materials like wood being the most eco friendly building materials, but the fact is that steel has far more environmentally friendly features than most organic building materials.
When it comes to wood, the problem is that many old growth forests are being used as the source for lumber. Before these forests can be replanted and the trees grow back to a useable size, the lumber used to build would have deteriorated. Over time, this wood will begin to rot and break down, especially if left untreated. It can also suffer damage from insects like termites.
That’s why steel is beginning to get the recognition it deserves when it comes to eco friendly building materials.
There are a lot of advantages to using steel in construction. Not only is it stronger than virtually any other building material available, it’s also very durable.
Although steel requires a lot of energy in its manufacture, it more than makes up for it in the fact that it lasts so long. A house built with steel walls could conceivably last for upwards of 200 years.
But there’s a lot more to like about steel. Although steel is very strong, it’s also relatively lightweight which cuts down on the fuel needed to transport it from manufacturers to the job site. This in turn results in fewer vehicle emissions. Steel is transported more often than you might expect because it is frequently re-used, or recycled to be turned into a different product.
Steel is considered to be a sustainable construction product with no waste generated at the construction site. Any waste steel generated during manufacture is simply set aside for re-use.
Using steel allows for greater flexibility in design. This works especially well in older buildings where a redesign often means that the building can be saved from the wrecking ball. And when the time comes for a building to be torn down or removed from a site, the steel can be re-used or recycled.
The difference between recycling steel and other materials is that most materials can only be recycled a single time and even then for a lesser use. Steel on the other hand can be recycled multiple times without any loss in the integrity of the product. Because of that fact, steel never ends up in a landfill site. In fact, more than 500 million tons of the stuff is recycled worldwide every year.
There is no doubt that steel has earned the right to be considered an eco friendly building material.