Misconceptions about today’s metal buildings

Metal often provides superior sustainability, cost-savings for building owners
Monday, September 9, 2013
By Arthur Hance

When someone says “metal building,” many still think of Quonset huts, the pre-fabricated steel buildings that most people associate with Second World War era army barracks. But modern techniques, materials and laboratory testing ensure that today’s metal buildings are every bit as attractive and energy-efficient as their conventional counterparts. In fact, metal buildings often provide superior sustainability and cost-savings for building owners.

“Metal roofs and walls offer an unbeatable level of environmental performance and aesthetic appeal,” concluded an industry report based on a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) continuing education program. “They are sustainable, have low-impact on the environment, reduce solid waste in construction, help reduce energy usage in all climates, and improve the air quality and water efficiency in buildings and their surroundings. They can be applied to all types of buildings in any climate, and offer designers and building owners a variety of visible options and behind the scene operating benefits.”

The message for people in the metal construction industry and property owners is simple. Building attractive, safe and energy-efficient buildings has never been more important. The good news for property owners is that metal buildings today are the right choice for cost-effective, expeditious construction, particularly in markets where there is demand for quality, quickly delivered buildings.

And metal buildings will stand the test of time. If smart metal building decisions are made now, property owners will have structures that retain value long after initial building utilization plans are changed.

Responsible industrial planning ensures actions are being taken today that won’t inhibit the opportunities of future generations. That’s the essence of sustainability – and the reason why more people are building green. Because buildings account for such a significant amount of the energy consumed in the world, choosing materials and designs with sustainability benefits provides one of the biggest opportunities for the environmentally conscious.

Cutting-edge metal manufacturing companies can combine green technology practices with systems construction efficiencies to make sustainable building more affordable than ever. Advanced engineering practices allow metal building design to make the most efficient use of raw materials, virtually eliminating waste.

Through extensive testing and computer modelling, the amount of steel utilized can be used while still meeting the most stringent building codes. In many instances, lighter weight structures can also reduce the size of footings and foundations, reducing the amount of concrete and steel used.

Steel is the proven standard in the effort to create sustainable architecture. In addition to being 100 per cent recyclable and reusable, steel can reduce utility costs, lifetime maintenance and the amount of waste material created.

In terms of recyclability, recycled content and ecosystem depletion from production to end of life reuse, metal construction leads the way in green design. Best of all, the end product is attractive, quicker to erect and more cost-effective.

Arthur Hance is president of Hance Construction Inc., an authorized Butler Builder serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. He can be reached at 908.835.3501.

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