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Stainless Steel’s Sustainability Credentials in Architecture & Construction


Stainless steel is an inherently green material because it is 100 percent recyclable and does not degrade or deteriorate in quality. The stainless steel we are making now has the potential and should be used for generations to come. It is the world’s most recyclable material.

The stainless-steel business is becoming more committed to improving manufacturing techniques and practices, utilizing raw materials as effectively as possible, and minimizing any environmental impact.

There are specific tools available to aid customers, designers, and specifiers in the selection of materials and systems in the development of environmentally sensitive construction projects, such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and the Green Guide. Stainless steel also works quite well as a material for Cladding.

Let’s check out the sustainability of stainless steel.

Environmentally aware construction

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the most established building assessment method and is used to describe a building’s environmental performance. Developers and designers are encouraged to examine a variety of concerns early in the development process to acquire the best possible score for the planned design. The granted certificate, which might be Pass, Good, Very Good, or Excellent, can then be used for promotional reasons in an increasingly concerning climate of collective environmental responsibility.

BREEAM areas of assessment include:

  • Management,
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Materials
  • Land Use and Ecology
  • Pollution

Environmental parameters are added to category scores to produce a single score from which the rating is generated. The BRE Green Guide to Specification is a publication that gives specifiers, designers, and their client’s information on the environmental impact of material standards for roofs, walls, and floors, among other things.

This thereby enables them to make informed choices in the design of the building, assess various elemental construction systems, and assign them ratings against various categories such as their effect on:

  • Climate change
  • Fossil fuel depletion,
  • Ozone depletion
  • Human toxicity to air and water

Characteristic Properties of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is widely recognized as an environmentally friendly product, and it is also widely acknowledged as a hygienic choice due to its widespread use in areas such as hospitals and restaurants.

Stainless steel is a long-lasting material in architectural and industrial usage. When properly specified, stainless steel will withstand the rigors of certain demanding conditions.

Stainless steel is a reusable and recyclable product, which contributes significantly to the sustainability of the key resources used in its manufacturing.

Stainless Steel’s Superpowers

  • Corrosion Resistant – Stainless steels (steels having at least 10.5 percent chromium) have superior corrosion resistance across a wide range of applications. The existence of an inert, self-forming, and repairing layer of chromium oxide gives stainless steel its corrosion resistance, isolating the metal’s iron from the atmosphere. The corrosion resistance of the material can be improved further by increasing or decreasing the proportion of specific alloy metals in stainless steel. 

Architecturally, Stainless steel is globally accepted as an excellent choice for specifiers. Chrysler building in New York, which has been in situ for more than 80 years having only been cleaned on 2 occasions, reinforces this fact.

  • Durability – When the structural properties of stainless steel are combined with its corrosion resistance, it results in an extremely durable product. As a result, when compared to other architectural materials such as aluminum or steel, stainless steel has a very extended life cycle.

The 316 (1.4401) is the grade of stainless steel most suitable for polluted, industrial, or marine environments on account of its higher corrosion resistance than other standard grades such as 304 (1.4301). Therefore, in urban façade type applications where pollution coupled with the likelihood that a regular cleaning regime will not exist or be adhered to, 316 would generally be the specification of choice.

  • Recyclability – Stainless steel is 100 percent recyclable. It can be reused and recycled without losing its qualities or performance.

Stainless steel contains a high percentage of recycled material. Following a case study conducted by the International Stainless-Steel Forum (ISSF), it was determined that the recycled content of stainless steel is 60%. The ISSF calculates that recycled steel accounts for 70% of the input in Europe.

Stainless Steel’s Sustainability & Environmental Impact

Due to the very high levels of recyclability and durability, stainless steel has a substantially smaller environmental impact than would exist if manufacturing was solely from primary material sources. In conjunction with advancements in manufacturing practice, the increasing amount of recycled content in stainless steel helps reduce energy consumption, emissions, and, as a result, the carbon footprint of the mills that produce it.

A stainless-steel product has little or no runoff or contamination, keeping it hygienic and resulting in little or no pollution of our land and waterways. There is also a reduced need for regular cleaning due to the excellent corrosion resistance.

There is a significant reduction in the impact of stainless steel on landfill disposal, further decreasing its environmental impact. Stainless steel recycling is financially driven rather than through tax breaks for recyclers, and thus self-sustaining.

The demand for basic resources such as nickel or molybdenum ore is minimized, hence reducing the physical damage and pollution associated with mining.

The environmental impact of building materials is becoming increasingly critical.

Stainless steel is completely recyclable, and there is no limit to the amount of recycled waste that may be utilized. Metal loss due to corrosion may introduce harmful elements into the environment.

Since Stainless Steel is naturally corrosion-resistant, no protective coatings are required, and the negative environmental impact associated with coatings (VOC outgassing, replacement, and recycling) is eliminated.

Also, cleaning stainless steel does not necessitate the use of acids or harsh chemicals.

However, stainless steel is merely one solution to the problem of thinking globally while acting locally.

INDOVANCE Inc with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free.

We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. With over 300 full-time employees and more than 600 customers in the US, Europe, India, and Asia, we are poised for the next level of success.

Follow INDOVANCE Inc for AEC Industry Updates and Global Construction News. Feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us at +1-919-238-4044.

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