a cold rolled steel buildings built by Hamilton Steel
a cold rolled steel buildings built by Hamilton Steel

The sustainability of structural steel fabrications

2nd August 2023 · Structural Steel

The sustainability of structural steel fabrications

If you’re considering a steel building for your commercial premises, it is important to examine the environmental implications and the impact that choosing certain construction materials can have on your business’s carbon footprint and brand reputation. In this blog post, we explore the sustainability of structural steel fabrications so that you can make an informed decision on your next construction project. 

Structural steel fabrications have a closed recycling loop

Steel is 100% recyclable and the steel industry recycles approximately 80 million tons of steel each year. In the UK, 87% of structural steel is recycled. When melted and repurposed, steel will retain its strength and malleability, making recycled steel a viable option for multiple applications.

Unlike other traditional materials, steel is one of the only common construction materials that directly contributes to a circular economy. 

The steel industry has positive sustainability goals

The steel industry seems set on a positive trajectory regarding decarbonisation. Both CO2 emissions and energy use in steel production across Europe are already half of what was produced in 1960, and the sector has a goal of cutting carbon emissions by a further 80-95% by 2050.

By opting for a steel structure over wood or brick, you are contributing to sustainable construction methods. 

Steel constructions produce little waste

Due to the recyclability of structural steel fabrications, there is a minimal requirement for raw materials to be used in the construction of steel buildings. When designing and installing steel buildings, the majority of steel components are prefabricated off-site, meaning that the chance of defects is decreased and there is less waste, as the steel buildings are engineered to precise dimensions. Because steel-framed buildings are pre-fabricated off-site, the transport of steel components can be reduced by 70% in comparison to the transport of materials for concrete or brick building projects.

There is little requirement for heavy machinery in structural steel fabrications, as the connections of a steel building frame can be bolted rather than welded. This further reduces the carbon emissions produced in installation.

Steel is a low-maintenance material

Durability and the means to withstand adverse weather conditions are some of the key benefits of choosing structural steel fabrications. Once installed and the right coating has been applied, a steel building requires very little maintenance or upkeep, reducing the cost of materials and labour as well as the environmental implications that are often associated with repairing a building made out of traditional materials. Unlike a wooden frame, steel won’t warp, split, twist or decay, making it a material that stands the test of time. The average lifespan of a steel building is 50 years.

Steel extensions can be easily modified

Opting for a steel extension when expanding an existing commercial premises can help to conserve valuable natural resources and minimise the requirement for primary aggregates. 

Steel extensions can be customised to have a number of energy-efficient performance characteristics to help save money in the long run. Steel frames have a high thermal efficiency which can help to reduce energy costs. They have deeper wall cavities than wooden frames, and investing in quality insulation can reduce noise pollution and cut hefty energy bills. Steel-framed buildings can be adapted to accommodate large windows that maximise natural light, which in turn can reduce electricity use. 

Steel extensions can also offer flexibility in terms of the configuration of internal spaces, empowering property owners to make more sustainable and environmentally-friendly choices for the design and layout of the extension. 

Cold-rolled steel has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio

Colled rolled steel framed buildings are becoming an increasingly popular option for industrial, commercial and agricultural businesses looking to expand their premises. Cold-rolled steel boasts a number of benefits, including a better surface finish and a higher tolerance against extreme weather conditions than that of hot-rolled steel. One of the biggest draws is the strength-to-weight ratio of cold rolled steel.

Because the rolled components are light, there is little requirement for expensive site preparations or environmentally damaging foundations. Cold-rolled steel buildings require little excavation in order to lay the likes of floating or portable foundations.

 If you’re interested in commercial structural steel fabrications, the team at Hamilton Steel are here to help discuss your requirements and position the project so that it is in line with your business sustainability goals. We can work alongside you to ensure your steel building is energy efficient and will provide you with a cost-effective and reliable long-term solution for your business.

You can request a quote here.

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