Construction industry as a whole is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources, which is why it has become an even bigger subject of debate due to climate change and the finite nature of resources construction industry depends on.
This is where sustainable construction comes in and it has a few methods in mind:
- Usage of renewable and recyclable natural resources
- Reducing the energy consumption and waste
- Creating a healthy, eco-friendly environment
Apart from having significant social effects, as well as providing better quality of life overall, it also benefits the financial situation, making it a new approach that improves the way we live and build. However, in order to have sustainable construction, sustainable materials need to be the part of the puzzle, and this is where they come in.
Sustainable building materials as part of the solution
Sustainable construction use to be a matter of personal choice, however, today the industry is becoming more and more regulated for the purpose of implementing measures that are supposed to improve the environmental behaviour of infrastructure.
Sustainable construction takes the use of resources, their environmental impact and safety risks into the account, which especially applies to sustainable building materials.
What do sustainable building materials need to be like?
Speaking about construction, sustainable building materials are those in which actions of low environmental impact have been performed.
They need to be:
- Recyclable or to contain recyclable materials in their composition
- Not affected by cold, heat and humidity
Given the fact that one of the most (if not the most) important construction material is metal, how do these features apply to it? Are there sustainable metals? As a matter of fact, yes there are.
Discover the features of sustainable metals
Having in mind that renewable sources are considered to be of the natural origin, and can be replaced by natural processes that occur in that specific natural environment, the conclusion is that the growing importance using sustainable building materials depends on relationship between the renewability of natural resources and the material products that can be generated from them.
As the risk of depleting a natural resource can make their use less desirable, especially concerning sustainable construction, there are other sustainable alternatives that can prevent that, and the great example of such alternatives are metals.
Sustainable metals – their origin and sourcing
The origin of metals is from their naturraly occuring solid material, and that is ore. Ores are extracted from the earth through mining, and here is where the first misconception takes place.
Since ores are extracted from the earth’s crust, this leads to a fairly common misconception that mining contributes to depletion of natural resources. However, many metals exist in metallic element form, and they can not be depleted – in fact, the overall Earth’s overall resource deposits have not decreased, but simply changed location or form.
Sustainable metals and steel as permanently accessible material
Having in mind that steel has numerous applications, once some of these cease having a useful existence, the beauty of using steel is that it can be recycled and reused by creating another product.
This cycle is precisely what allows steel to remain a permanently accessible material, one that completely justifies the usage of metals in sustainable construction. Each time a steel product is recycled in into a new one, the properties of the metal are retained.
This can be done for an infinite amount of time with little to no changes regarding inherent properties of the metal.
Sustainability of steel in construction
As you’ve probably gathered, steel sustainability reflects in the fact it’s one of the few materials that have a truly closed recycling loop.
It can used all over again, without losing its’ quality or strength, and even better, unlike most materials, steel can be upcycled, meaning that its’ properties can be enhanced through recycling.
Steel sustainability and the benefits of relying on it
Over the years, steel sustainability has become one of the hallmarks of steel construction, managing to become even more “green” over the years.
By taking care that every step of the production and later processing is fed back into the system, minimizing waste and environmental footprint.
Steel promotes sustainable construction
Having steel buildings prefabricated and erected, means you are making significant cost savings too, as steel can be deconstructed just as easily as constructed, while its’ parts can be reused or recycled.
Steel sustainability benefits are the most obvious in the following effects steel buildings have:
- They leave less waste onsite itself
- The construction is safer
- They leave a smaller footprint
- There is less pollution from heavy machinery
- There is less disruption in the community
A steel construction is delivered at the time you need it, without having to store other construction materials, while the construction itself is fast, translating into sustainable construction more than any other form.
Steel is a long-lived construction material that requires very little maintenance, thanks to its’ resistance to most environmental conditions that are problematic for wood or stone. Together with the right coating or finish formulation, it won’t rust or corrode.
Most importantly, steel sustainability very much contributes to economy and community, given, which is evident not only in cost effectiveness of using steel, but also in providing jobs both in construction and related fields.
The final word
We have explained how sustainable metals contribute to the big picture, especially steel, which is why we believe that opting for steel for metal fabrication or construction in general is primarily a responsible choice – a showcase of commitment to reducing environmental footprint.
Steel is a durable, versatile and recyclable, a metal that truly contributes to sustainable construction and the one whose different types we use the most when it comes to both fabrication and installation, providing you with all the steelwork necessary for you to complete your project.