When you’re talking about sustainable construction, one material stands tall as a beacon of environmental responsibility and economic viability: steel. Beyond its sturdy facade and structural prowess, it is a material that embodies the principles of recycling, reliability, responsibility, and revenue protection.
The use of steel in construction dates back centuries, with the Industrial Revolution marking a pivotal moment for steel. As construction needed stronger materials, steel’s malleability and durability propelled it to the forefront and forever transformed the modern skyline and how we created it.
A few hundred years later, steel remains indispensable worldwide. Let’s explore some of those reasons.
Steel: Earth’s Most Recycled Material
Clients are often surprised at the economic circularity of steel, or how much of it is put back into production. Steel is the most recycled material on Earth and can be recycled over and over and over.
Steel According to the World Steel Association, Europe’s steel packaging recycling rate reached an impressive 84% in 2019. Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands stood at 90%, with Japan at 93.3%.
The United States recycles a huge amount of steel and companies like Butler Manufacturing™ focus on providing a large portion of recycled steel in their Pre-Engineered metal building systems.
Using steel in commercial and industrial construction reduces the demand for raw materials and curbs the environmental impact of mining and extraction. Embracing sustainability like the steel industry has means a large part of the steel we use is already recycled.
This cyclical reuse of such a strong construction material, that loses no strength through the recycling process, makes steel an indispensable part of green building. That also brings us to our next important point.
The Endless Loop: Recycling Steel Without Compromise
Contrary to some beliefs, recycling steel doesn’t compromise its quality or effectiveness. Steel is unique in that ability to be recycled repeatedly without losing structural integrity.
The recycling process involves melting down scrap steel to create new steel products, and this cycle can be repeated time and again as impurities are removed during the process. This conserves resources and minimizes the carbon footprint associated with steel production.
Economic Benefits: Revenue Protection Through Steel Recycling
Beyond its environmental benefits, steel recycling also makes economic sense.
The recycling industry associated with steel contributes significantly to global economies. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the recycling industry provides over 500,000 jobs in the United States alone, generating approximately $116 billion in economic activity.
Interestingly, recycling steel consumes 74% less energy than producing new steel, resulting in cost savings for manufacturers to keep costs lower for consumers.
Steel’s Resilience in Construction
Apart from its circular attributes, steel’s reliability in construction is unmatched. Its strength-to-weight ratio makes it ideal for high-rise buildings, bridges, and other critical structures.
Steel-framed buildings are durable and flexible, allowing for modifications and renovations with minimal waste. This adaptability adds another layer to steel’s sustainability by extending the lifespan of structures and reducing the need for demolition and reconstruction.
Steel does not rot, warp, and can’t be infested by insects. Such a large part of building design deals with how water in various forms is purposely moved through a building, and steel avoids many of the age-old problems mankind has faced in large-scale construction.
A Responsible Choice
In the era of climate change and environmental awareness, responsible choices in construction materials are more than requests.
Medical facilities, data centers, and other specialized facilities often have stricter, industry-specific building standards. Steel building systems and components give us the chance to meet increasingly high energy efficiency demands.
Choosing steel in construction aligns with the principles of responsible resource use and low environmental impact. The steel industry worked towards sustainability before the recent push for regulations.
The steel industry decreased its carbon footprint through innovations such as electric arc furnaces and sustainable sourcing of raw materials while increasing material recycling.
Looking to the Future
As the construction industry continues grappling with the imperative of sustainability, steel emerges as a frontrunner in shaping a greener future. The circular economy principles embodied by steel—recycled, reliable, responsible, and revenue-protecting—will make it a linchpin in sustainable construction practices for the foreseeable future.
From reducing the demand for raw materials to fostering economic growth, steel stands tall in structures and pursues a more sustainable and resilient world.
It’s time to build a future where strength meets responsibility. Choose MGM General Construction Corporation for projects that blend innovation with eco-consciousness. Contact us to construct a future that stands tall together.