When considering a new home many people assume that a wooden house is the most environmentally friendly, simply because the trees can be replenished or you can use reclaimed wood.
But, you may be surprised to discover that steel-framed houses can also benefit the environment. Of course, you need to use a reputable supplier of structural beams to be sure you’re doing everything you can for the planet.
Don’t forget, steel in construction is not a new thing, it’s been used in industrial buildings for years. But, it’s only recently interest has increased for the housing market.
Steel can be used, melted down, and then reformed without losing any of its strength. This allows old steel to be taken away and recycled. In short, steel doesn’t go to landfill and much of what you purchase will be recycled, minimizing any negative impact on the environment!
Minimal Site Damage
Building a traditional house means using a lot of machinery on site. All these items will leave their mark, effectively damaging the site. It can take years for it to recover.
But, because steel is fabricated in a factory and then simply erected on-site, it can actually be done with very little negative impact. Especially if you opt for steel frame suspended flooring systems.
Minimal earth excavation also ensures there is little damage to the planet when erecting a steel-framed house.
Pests can quickly infect a standard wooden house and cause serious issues. A colony of termites can eat through a 6” section of a 2×4 piece of wood in just 6 months.
That may not sound a lot but you imagine taking that much wood of any of your supports, it’s going to cause issues.
Fortunately, this isn’t an issue for a steel frame house, it can’t be eaten by pests.
The benefit for the environment? There is no need to use chemicals to treat and protect a steel-framed house. Many of the chemicals used to treat wooden houses are poisonous to the earth and humans, potentially giving an array of issues later in life.
Steel doesn’t degrade or decompose over time. It will stand there for years, the only difference will be a reduction of the original shine. In contrast, wood can decompose, causing the house to collapse and more wood to be used to either fix or replace it.
Steel will stay firm, which means no resources are being used to maintain the house. Alongside this durability, they don’t change with the heat or the cold like wood does. The structural will stay exactly as you created it.
The Bottom Line
Surprisingly steel may be a better option for the environment when building a home. The good news is that it can still be used to create a wide variety of shapes and it is better at standing up in extreme weather. That’s the reason why many homes in earthquake areas are built of steel, they are more likely to still be standing after the quake has passed.