Forget the gold rush. For businesses, the green rush is officially on.
Businesses are investing in green technology like never before. Even companies not built around sustainability recognize that being green is no longer an option. It’s table stakes for any organization in it for the long haul.
One under-the-radar green trend: steel buildings, like the durable, lightweight Nissen hut and the ever-adaptable Quonset hut. Here’s why so many companies are turning to steel buildings.
They’re Extremely Strong
Steel frame buildings are far stronger than wood frame structures. Pound for pound, they require less material to build than most other types of structures. And, while steel isn’t technically a renewable resource, most of the material that does go into steel frame buildings’ construction can be reclaimed and recycled for future use.
They Hold Up Well in Natural Disasters
Structural steel holds up well in natural disasters. Properly constructed steel buildings can withstand winds up to Category 4 strength. With effective foundation anchoring, steel buildings can withstand strong earthquakes as well — though local conditions, including soil and bedrock composition, are important to consider when assessing tremor resilience.
Buildings that hold up well in natural disasters are inherently more sustainable because they require less work and material to repair.
They Produce Little Construction Waste
Steel frame buildings are highly efficient to build. Unlike wood frame buildings, whose support beams typically need to be cut and finished on site, steel panels come pre-fitted and require only minimal modification during fabrication. Structural steel also requires less joining or adhesive materials — bolts, fasteners, nails, mortar, and the like — than wood or brick.
They’re Quick to Build
Steel frame structures go up in a relative blink of an eye. A capable team can easily build a fully functional Nissen hut or Quonset hut in a matter of days. This is a critical advantage for companies that simply can’t afford construction delays, and remote operators whose profit margins are measured in hours, not months or quarters. Plus, since workers and equipment are on site for less time, fast-build steel structures use fewer resources during the construction process: less fuel, less water, less food.
They Require Limited Maintenance
Steel structures require far less maintenance than wood or brick structures, which aren’t as durable over long periods of time. Modern structural steel is designed to resist corrosion all but indefinitely, and their impressive thermal resistance obviates periodic replacements for warped or worn structural components. Steel building maintenance is largely limited to the same non-structural components that require maintenance in any type of building.
They’re Naturally Pest-Resistant
Steel buildings naturally resist common structural pests: ants, termites, rodents. This is good for many reasons, some having nothing to do with sustainability. But remember that pests are inherently destructive. Left to its own devices, a termite colony can completely undermine an otherwise well-built wooden structure in a matter of years, necessitating costly, resource-intensive maintenance far ahead of schedule. Termites can’t even survive in steel structures.
So, while wooden structures still dominate, it’s clear to see why more businesses are turning toward steel buildings for both sustainable and practical benefits.