Is Structural Steel Sustainable?

January 6, 2023 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Environmental sustainability is a crucial question these days. And that question is being asked a lot when it comes to structural steel. There are many benefits to this type of construction material that go far beyond the simple aesthetic elements. One of the many benefits of structural steel is that it is indeed an environmentally sustainable option. If you are looking for the most sustainable building materials, this quick guide will provide you with more info on why choosing structural steel could be a good option for your goals.

Let’s look at several reasons structural steel is considered a good option among sustainable construction materials.


This is probably one of the most important reasons why steel ranks well with other sustainable construction materials. Steel is easily recyclable. This means that reclaimed steel materials can be reprocessed to be used over and over. In fact, steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world.

Steel can be recycled over and over again because it has metallurgic properties. This means that as it is being recycled there is no degradation of its quality. This greatly enhances its sustainability.

Water and Slag

The actual material of the steel is not the only factor that must be considered, though, when discussing its sustainability. We must also consider the steps involved in the processing of recycled steel. Water is one of the most important factors in steel production, and because water is also a vital resource, we should look at how that water is used and processed. When water is polluted through manufacturing, environmental sustainability takes a hit.

However, through technological advances in water purification, the contaminated water that is left over after steel production can now be filtered. The result is that 98% of the water used during steel fabrication can be reused for other purposes.

There is also the question of slag. Slag is a by-product of steel production. It is a stony waste material that is separated from metal. Slag was thought unusable for many years and so it was dumped. This dumping had negative impacts on the environment directly surrounding steel plants. However, today, manufacturers have discovered ways to turn slag into an ingredient in cement production.

Less Waste

When structures are made of wood or other materials, there is always wastage from offcuts. This is a result of the fact that these materials must be cut to size. The leftover is simply waste that cannot be used. Steel, however, is custom-made to order. There are no cuts or extra waste. When building with steel you only get what you will need and use.

Saves Energy

Structures made of steel are better at retaining heat in the winter. This means that structures will use less energy over their lifespan in energy consumption. This definitely helps to make steel an environmentally sustainable building material option.

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