This guest post is by Jason Phillips of MadisonInd.com.
Steel used as a material in construction has many benefits and provides a lot of solutions which link to Green buildings. The structures made from steel are light, recyclable and it does not take long to construct. Because it is recycled and also recyclable, steel framing is a responsible and beneficial choice for the environment. Steel can be an extremely important addition to projects wherein sustainable design, construction and material are an important requirement. As Green buildings or sustainable building refers to a structure that is built using a process that is responsible for the environment and its operation, construction, maintenance and renovation is resource efficient and environmentally responsible. Hence steel is considered a Green construction material.
Steel Solutions for the Green Buildings
Steel has a low environmental impact that is crucial and a prerogative of a Green building. Some of the solutions that steel as a construction and building material provide Green buildings are:
• Steel solutions make buildings more energy efficient and are less costly to operate and very comfortable. Other than that, steel allows a high and superior degree of prefabrication for quick, reliable and very predictable construction that reduces neighbourhood complaints on the construction site.
• Steel plays an important role in the movement towards zero energy buildings as well. Some of the solutions in construction are photovoltaic roofing systems, thermally efficient steel system and high insulation panels are available and help in achieving the management of increasing energy consumption. The solution provided helps in reducing the energy consumed during the building’s life and contributing positively towards reduction of its environmental impact.
• The mechanical properties of steel provide a solution, particularly its weight to strength ratio. This enables the creation of very lightweight and load bearing structures that helps in gaining additional usable and space efficient enough to bring economic and social value to the building. Technical steel solutions increase and optimise space and allow flexible internal space, extension and also a quick and easy renovation.
• Steel is also considered a premier green construction material because it continues to prove its role in environmental protection as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has been proactive in pursuing every measurement of its own and thus exceeding regulatory requirements.
• Another important solution that steel provides Green building is that it is the best replacement of wood. 40 trees or so are cut to build an average sized home; whereas framing of a steel-framed home is made from around six recycled cars.
• It is has a strong built to last quality. It is highly durable and also non-combustible that will not contribute fuel to a growing fire. Its galvanized zinc costing keeps it corrosion free and hence any steel structure can last for hundreds of years.
Steel, an environmental success
Steel structures have a lot of environmental benefits and are considered extremely green. It is also the most preferred and attractive alternative there is to wood. Almost every product on this planet is made from recycled steel from cars to refrigerators and many more. Recycling steel saves energy and also helps in protecting valuable resources. Nearly 68.7% of all steel scrap is recycled. Steel also does not encourage any pest infestations, moulding or rotting of the house that can give birth to disease carrying spores and also bacteria into the home. Steel is the one material that provides solutions towards a safe, clean, hazard free and healthy environment for your family.
Benefits of Steel towards Green building
• Many steel constructed products are represented in almost all green building standards and rating programs like the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, and the National Green Building Standard for residential buildings.
• Usage of cold formed steel framing reduces the construction waste generated at the sites.
• Steel used as metal roofs save up to 40% in important cooling energy. Metal roofs that are highly emissive lower urban temperatures and thus result in reduction of smog. Builders are now taking advantage of the fact that roofs built of steel indeed reflect light and heat and this helps keep the buildings much cooler during summer. This saves a lot of energy in cooling costs and helps the environment by reducing the ‘heat island’ effect. The steel is coated with a ‘cool’ coating which is a silicon polyester paint which helps in reflecting light that acts as a thermal barrier and keeping the inside cool.
• Steel is extremely light and so transportation of steel requires less fuel and any transport capacity as compared to other materials.
• Architects and engineers are able to achieve highly sustainable designs created with steel joists and many other steel structural components that help boost the amount of recycled products used in the construction of their projects. With this, achieving the LEED credit is possible.
• In addition to steel’s ‘green’ nature, design flexibility is also a generous benefit. It allows for maximum headroom and it is flexible to allow pipes and ducts to enter and run through the web of joists, a procedure that is impossible with other construction materials.
The colours green is now associated with steel, the most recycled material on this planet. Steel is the answer and solution for the housing and materials of tomorrow as it is able to address all the needs of a low cost and affordable high-end and also green buildings. Also, steel’s sustainable and efficient benefit goes beyond its high recycling attributes and this makes it a necessary, cost-effective and durable option for all construction requirements and applications. So go ‘Green’ with steel.
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