Sustainable development, or sustainability, is aimed at making everyone’s lives better, both for now and for our future generations. It encompasses social, economic, and environmental dimensions along with the idea of stewardship and responsibly managing our use of resources.
Products that are made from steel assist in meeting the needs of society in a way that is sustainable. All construction products will have at least some impact on the environment, whether they are created from plastic, concrete, steel, or wood. When assessing the sustainability of something, it is critical to measure each of the impacts of it. This includes durability, means of disposal, the environment, and the atmosphere. When all of these factors have been taken into consideration, steel comes out ahead of all of the other building materials.
Some people claim that using wood as a building material will assist in terms of lowering CO2 emissions because of something called carbon capture. This is, in reality, more of a catch and release type of phenomenon. This happens because each year, millions of tons of waste from wood ends up in our landfills. A portion of this will decompose and then release CO2 as well as methane, which is a greenhouse gas that has 25 times the awful effects of the CO2. In the US, less than 25% of the landfills have the ability to capture and then use the methane released.
The manufacturing process of steel has been improved upon continuously in terms of the level of greenhouse gas emissions and its use of energy. In fact, it has achieved a reduction in energy intensity of 32% and a reduction in terms of greenhouse gas intensity of 37% since the year 1990 in North America alone. Also, the entire industry remains committed to finding or creating new processes for making steel that utilize greener fuels and will result in even more reductions with regards to CO2 emissions.
Steel products also have a decisive life cycle. This is because they can always be recycled to be used as other steel products.