Green Buildings with Steel: The King of Sustainability

Green Buildings with Steel: The King of Sustainability
Jan 2020

A green building, by definition, is one whose design, construction, and operation eliminate or significantly reduces negative impacts on our climate and natural environment. This practice, also referred to as sustainable design, aims at increasing the efficiency of energy, water, and material consumption. It also provides a more eco-friendly construction option and minimizes impacts on our health throughout the lifecycle of the building.

Green buildings are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. as we make all efforts to save the planet. Earth is not sustainable at the current energy consumption and pollution rates. Who wouldn’t embrace a change that gives us a shot at keeping our only home?

The construction industry is putting a major emphasis on the shift towards going green. That being said, steel is our favorite material. It is the king of sustainability, and if you’re still in doubt, we are going to convince you shortly.

Why Steel is the Greenest Building Material Available

To begin with, steel is currently recognized by all renowned green building standards including:

  • US Green Building Council’s LEED program for all building types
  • ASHRAE Standard 189.1 for commercial construction
  • National Green Building Standard (ICC-700) for residential buildings

Steel is not only lighter than traditional building materials but also extremely strong. This high strength-to-weight ratio enables it to maintain its structural properties even towards the end of its lifecycle. Then, it goes on to be 100% recyclable! But that’s not all – parts for steel buildings are prefabricated and designed to fall into place seamlessly, thus eliminating or reducing on-site modifications that might produce waste.

As far as green buildings go, a lighter material means less energy used and less CO2 emitted during construction as well as transportation of the materials. What’s more, due to its increased strength, steel buildings demand fewer materials, which save natural resources. The steel frame requirement for a 2,000 sq. foot two-story house could come from about six recycled cars. To give you some perspective; the same wooden frame would take more than 40 trees (at least an acre) to produce.

Another reason why steel is the king of green buildings is that it does not catch fires or decay. Therefore, it doesn’t give off harmful emissions, unlike wood and related products that might emit hazardous gases such as formaldehyde.

Green steel buildings are where the future heads. They can be used for just about every purpose, including (but not limited to):

  • Storage building
  • Homes and home expansion
  • Office complexes
  • Grow houses for agriculture
  • Aircraft hangars
  • Garages
  • Utility
  • Stables

The list is endless. Really, you can choose to go green with any building that you want to construct.

What are the Benefits of Using Sustainable Green Buildings?

Of course, we have already seen that green buildings enhance indoor environmental quality for better health. They are also energy-efficient buildings right from the transportation of raw materials to the construction and operation. Green buildings utilize materials efficiently, and this reduces the strain on natural resources. What’ more, all these efficiencies lead to cutting on building costs while increasing overall property value. Now, here are some more that you get from green steel buildings specifically:


The durability of steel buildings is unrivalled. They do not succumb to damage easily – at least not from apparent things such as weather, mold and mildew, rotting, or termites. You might already know that steel is even the favorite material for earthquake-resistant architecture. And it’s not just about being resistant to the elements. These buildings can remain standing for hundreds of years because steel is dimensionally stable and doesn’t warp, creep, or split.


We cannot talk sustainability if something is not reusable or if you must toss it out and get a new one in the end. Luckily, steel is currently the most recycled metal at about 630 million tons each year. These figures come as great news considering that estimates show recycling a single ton of metal saves nearly 1.5 tons of CO2, 1.4 tons of iron ore, and about 740kg of coal.

Moreover, steel is not only the most recycled but also 100% recyclable. In the real world, however, only about 98% or less of it is recovered for recycling. You try achieving the same with traditional materials like concrete. Sure, wood can be recycled, but mostly not without the addition of a bunch of harmful resins.

Environmentally Sound

Which one seems more reasonable between tearing down an acre of trees and recycling six cars? Or between a concrete structure that will shatter under weather uncertainties such as earthquakes and a steel building that won’t? Also, wouldn’t you rest easier knowing that you don’t have termites, mold, decay, and insects to worry about in your home or workplace?

The list goes on, and don’t forget about the whole high strength-to-weight ratio, prefabrication, less waste, less strain on the environment thing that we already mentioned. Undoubtedly, adopting energy-efficient steel buildings is an environmentally sound way to go!

Smaller Carbon Footprint

Everything about green steel buildings works in harmony to reduce the carbon footprint from the manufacturing to usage of the house. The lightweight of pre-engineered parts use less gas during transportation and reduces equipment running times during construction.

Some might argue that trees have the whole “carbon capture” thing going on. However, this is more of a catch-and-release phenomenon considering tens of millions of tons of wood end up in landfills each year, where they decompose and release CO2 as well as methane.

Another argument would be that the manufacturing process of steel produces CO2 as well, which is true. Nevertheless, this process has advanced tremendously over the years, resulting in a 60% reduction in energy consumption since World War II. Also, blast furnaces are so advanced today they capture most of the CO2 produced and use it in other stages of the manufacturing process, not forgetting the other advantages that we said come with recycling metals.

Reduced Energy Usage and Costs

A green metal building takes up less energy to construct, as we have mentioned. They are also reasonably easy to insulate and cost you less on air conditioning in the long run. When it comes to zero energy buildings (ZEB), steel is strong enough to support all the solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage that you would ever need. You also don’t have to keep repairing a steel building, and its modification is easy, again resulting in less energy usage and reduced overall maintenance costs. How convenient!

Green Buildings at Powerbilt Steel Buildings

At Powerbilt Steel Buildings, we design and manufacture green buildings using 80% recycled steel. We strive to eliminate unnecessary waste, preserve the environment, and produce a resource with the most extended life cycle.

We also provide energy-efficient skylights that help reduce harmful UV rays and save on electricity costs. Our connector plate system eliminates the need for wood and excess concrete (for the foundation), thereby saving our customers their hard-earned money. Furthermore, we have colored building options that reflect heat, providing a more comfortable environment for working or living.

The energy conservation methods that Powerbilt practices provide a great alternative building model for customers to enjoy while contributing to the protection of the environment as well as reducing energy waste.

Powerbilt Steel Buildings has over 20 years of experience in the steel building industry, manufacturing the most long-lasting structures across the U.S. We value our customers and provide unparalleled customer service, as is evidenced by our A+ BBB rating and customer reviews. Powerbilt Steel Buildings is also the number 1 provider of green buildings across the U.S. If you are considering going green, think Powerbilt.

Contact us now on +1 (800) 547-8335 to order or get started on your green building’s design process.

Ready to Start Your Project?

Connect with Our Quonset Building Experts Today!