Steel – The Most Sustainable Building Material

By Mark Hiatt   |   Posted In: Garages

Steel – The Most Sustainable Building Material


Did you know that steel is perhaps the most sustainable building material on Earth? Steel’s many benefits for use as a construction material include its strength, durability, versatility, and sustainability. Wood carries the perception of being a “standard” framing material, but more and more builders, homeowners, and businesses are seeing the advantages of choosing cold-formed steel (also known as light-gauge steel) as the main structural material for their residential, commercial, farm, and industrial applications.

Because steel still carries the perception of being an “alternative” building material in certain circles, we’re here to shine some light on the facts. Steel isn’t just an alternative, it’s actually a better alternative! Here are some reasons why light-gauge steel is a better, more sustainable choice for building applications than other materials:

Steel is more efficient and cost-effective

Cold-formed steel is lightweight, but still possesses the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any mass-produced construction material. As such, it takes less steel to frame a building than it does wood or other materials. This conservation of material requires fewer of Earth’s resources to produce. Pre-engineered and pre-measured light-gauge steel components are also easier to work with on the jobsite, needing less labor to install.

Steel produces less jobsite waste

The consistency of pre-fabricated steel components is much better than those made of wood or other materials. You don’t have to worry about sorting out poor-quality products. Plus, every component is precision-engineered and premeasured according to your building specifications. The end result is much less waste produced on the jobsite, less material going into landfills, and greatly-reduced waste disposal costs. And if there happens to be any steel that you can’t use on the job, it’s all 100% recyclable.

Steel is more durable and lasts longer

Steel components don’t warp or rot like wood, and they can stand up to constant use and extreme weather elements, including wind, rain, lightning, snow, and sleet. Steel also enjoys the advantages of being inflammable, and also being impervious to pests, mold, and mildew. And thanks to the malleability and ductility of steel, these structures can even withstand the rolling forces of earthquake waves much better than their wooden counterparts. More durable and resilient means more sustainable, and there aren’t many things more sustainable than a well-designed and installed cold-formed steel structure!

Steel is a “greener” choice

Perhaps you don’t have a perception of steel as being a “green” material; it’s actually more green than you may realize! Did you know that steel is North America’s most recycled material? In fact, more steel is recycled than paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic combined. For every ton of steel recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are saved.

“According to, more than 65 million tons of steel scrap are recycled each year.”

Did you also know that all North American-produced steel contains a minimum of 25 percent recycled steel, and is 100% recyclable itself? The steel industry places massive emphasis on recycling at every level of operation. Using recycled steel helps reduce our dependence on extracting more of Earth’s limited resources. For these reasons, steel framing and sheeting is in fact a “greener” option than the wood components used in framing and covering a stick-build structure.

Ready to learn more?

To learn more about the benefits of choosing cold-formed steel for framing and construction, visit To learn more about why pre-engineered steel buildings are better than conventional construction options, check out this helpful blog. And if you’re ready to do your part to help conserve Earth’s resources, AND get the metal carport, garage, barn, RV cover, workshop, or other custom building of your dreams, look no farther than the nationwide experts at Carport Central!


  • Mark Hiatt

    Mark Hiatt brings over 20 years of commercial construction experience as a licensed engineer in NC, SC, and VA. Design-and-build is his specialty, and he serves both as a structural engineer for American Building Network and as an engineering consultant for Carport Central.

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