When we talk about building materials in terms of sustainability, efficiency, reuse or recycling, wood or aluminium come to mind. Wood because it is a natural material and aluminium because of its recyclability. But these materials, interestingly, are not the ones that leave the smallest carbon footprint.
Few people also think of steel as a material with a low environmental impact. However, it turns out that steel is a key material for reducing the environmental impact of industrial development, now and in the future. Because of its efficiency, its sustainability and its unbeatable qualities.
At VALL, one of our main commitments is to improve sustainability and for this reason we take the utmost care in the design and production processes of our removable warehouses, as well as in the selection of the materials we use in their manufacture and assembly. Our commitment to companies and clients is to create energy-efficient spaces. And to the planet, to reduce the carbon footprint of our sector and the construction sector in general. In this sense, steel is a great ally. That is why we have a wide catalogue of removable warehouses made of steel.
Discover the connection between steel, energy efficiency and sustainability.
1. Easy to recycle.
Did you know that steel is the most recycled material in Europe? This is largely due to how easy and economical it is to recycle. In addition, it can be 100% recycled with almost no material loss. This is because it is a magnetic material, so steel scrap can be collected with an electromagnet and easily separated from other waste.
Today, taking into account the entire world production, 90% of the steel produced is recycled. In fact, 15 tonnes of steel are recycled every second in the world.
In steel packaging recycling, 90% was the target set for 2050, but is already a reality in 2021 in some European countries. And in total recycled steel, the average in Europe is 10% above the world average, reaching 50% of the steel produced that comes from recycling.
Recycling means a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the entire production process, from the process of obtaining the raw materials and transporting them to their manufacture. And, of course, by doing so we reduce the exploitation of the planet’s natural environments.
It is worth noting that recycled steel is also more environmentally friendly and sustainable in its production than newly manufactured steel. Not only because it reuses materials that could be considered waste, nor because it avoids the extraction of raw materials (which, in fact, it does by 90%). But also because its manufacture reduces energy consumption and the need to use such a precious commodity as water.
During the production process of recycled steel, 80% less energy is used than when producing non-recycled steel. And water consumption is reduced by 85%.
2. It is strong and durable.
Another reason why steel structures are the most sustainable is because of the material’s properties. Its strength and durability mean that any element made of this material has a very long service life. As they say colloquially, and almost always rightly so, steel is for life.
What does this mean? That there is hardly any need for replacement. There is no need to re-produce a new element (with the energy and resource consumption that implies) to replace the one in use. So this reduces your carbon footprint.
3. Facilitates energy efficiency.
Greater individual and collective awareness of environmental challenges means that individuals and companies are making decisions that also take into account aspects such as sustainability. One of them is to look for solutions that improve energy efficiency.
In addition, energy-efficient spaces consume less energy. And that means lower costs for companies and private households. The energy efficiency of a removable industrial building does not depend directly on the steel that makes up its structure.
Energy efficiency depends, above all, on the properties of the roof and enclosures . A roof that allows sunlight to pass through, combined with well-sealed and insulated enclosures, is key to reducing the consumption of light, heating and cooling.
However, a highly resistant structure that suffers less from adverse events is an indispensable aid to the proper maintenance of the elements that cover it.
4. Proximity, shorter journeys, transport with less carbon footprint.
Another interesting figure is that 70% of steel packaging in Europe is recycled and then used for our own consumption. Remember that almost all the steel we use is recycled, so the raw material does not need to travel to supply and sell our structures across Europe and beyond. It’s right here in the elements, parts and structures we no longer use.
So, compared to other materials, this is also a big difference. Steel is part of the circular and local economy: it is manufactured here, processed here and transported over shorter distances than other materials in the construction and steel industry. And fewer kilometres means less fuel.
5. Continue to evolve to become even more sustainable.
In recent decades, steel producers have managed to reduce the energy consumed to make steel. In fact, it now takes 60% less energy than in 1960 to produce the same amount of steel.
In addition, more and more steel producers are using renewable energies for their production. All over the world. And that means an ever-increasing reduction in the carbon footprint of steel.
At VALL, it is clear to us that steel structures are the most sustainable. Steel is a preferred material for us in the construction of removable warehouses, it fits our mission and vision and helps us build better warehouses.
Thanks to steel, at VALL we can help companies to improve their efficiency, their commitment to the environment and the well-being of people.