Steel has been used in architecture, engineering, landscapes, interiors, maritime construction, and art installation for centuries. It is one of the most common building materials used throughout the industrialized world. Steel is strong, durable, versatile, and recyclable. Stainless steel has the advantage of being extremely resistant to corrosion and requires virtually no maintenance. Steel is a ductile material that can be shaped and formed into a variety of profiles, shapes, and sheets.
While steel is a perfect choice for most construction projects, it is also an environmentally friendly material to work with. Let us take a look at some of the advantages of working with steel, specifically stainless steel, as it relates to its environmental benefits.
Speed of Construction
The erection time for stainless steel framing makes it a schedule friendly material to work with. Most steel profiles are customized and shaped cut to size in the factory. The pre-engineered profiles are then efficiently assembled once they arrive on the job site, either with field welds or with mechanical fasteners. This results in less field labor and less carbon emissions on site, as there is little to no cutting or waste. Construction times and the associated energy usage are reduced.
Natural Ventilation and Daylight
Because stainless steel has long span capability this allows for the use of large windows and glass curtain wall systems. Curtain walls allow for nearly limitless expanses of natural daylight to filter into a space. Natural daylight has been proven to have a direct effect on productivity and mood. It is known that people function more efficiently and experience less depression when exposed to sunlight.
Operable windows with slim stainless steel sashes, placed within large steel openings, allow for natural ventilation. Fresh air is an element that helps to keep people healthier and breathing better, reducing the need for mechanically introduced ventilation.
Stainless steel exterior wall systems are perfect for including large areas of insulation between structural members. Steel framing is also a perfect marriage with rain screen facades. These facades can also be made of stainless steel panels. Due to better insulation and the ability for the façade to system to remove moisture quickly, building interiors are warmer in cold weather, cooler in hot weather, and moisture free in wet climates. This reduces heating and cooling costs, resulting in lower utility usage, and putting less of a strain on our fuel reserves of oil, gas, and coal. Electricity usage is also reduced.
Because stainless steel has such an impressive lifespan it is a more sustainable material than wood for both structural systems and protective coverings, such as exterior cladding, skins, roofs, and marine exteriors. Steel construction systems are well suited for projects that require resistance to natural forces, such as high winds, moisture, and sea salt. Stainless is especially durable in that it has anti-corrosive properties and will not succumb to rust or the exposure to pollutants. It should also be noted that stainless steel is more fire-resistant than other metal building components.
Stainless steel is reusable and recyclable. These qualities have a very positive impact on the environment. Being able to repurpose or remanufacture stainless steel equates into less depletion of our natural environment, such as our forests. Our living forests are necessary to filter the atmosphere so that we have cleaner air to breathe.
According to the World Steel Association, steel is the world’s most recyclable material. Stainless steel building systems and profiles can be harvested and recycled to be used over and over again. The result is significant savings on energy costs and emissions in the manufacturing of new products. Natural iron ore reserves are limited and require expensive mining operations that also destroy many landscapes. Recycled steel uses less energy to refine, purify, and shape components. The strength of the steel is not compromised when it is recycled. Moreover, recycling ensures that a lot of metal does not end up in our landfills.
Stainless Structurals Cares
For more information about the environmental benefits and uses of stainless steel, please contact us, or browse our website at Stainless Structurals. We would be happy to discuss our production means, methods and how we eliminate as much material waste as possible in our manufacturing processes.