Green, sustainable building has become a priority for many homeowners, contractors, and architects over the years. Its biggest goal is to reduce the impact on the environment in relation to building. Green building is focused on using sustainable, environmentally responsible, and resource-efficient practices throughout all the different stages of building. From residential homes to corporate facilities, we’re exploring this concept and why it’s important.
What is Green Building?
Green building is the practice of creating buildings and structures with processes that increase the efficiency with which they’re built. It’s been generally accepted that green building consists of the planning, designing, construction, and operations of buildings/structures, regardless of the market, and takes the following elements into consideration: water use, energy use, material selection, indoor environment quality, and the building’s effects on the jobsite.
Green building focuses on one main goal: increasing the positive effects while decreasing the negative effects to the environment through the entire building lifecycle process. It also focuses on reducing waste and pollution, protecting occupant health, and improving employee productivity.
Why is Green Building Important?
The importance of green building practices can’t be overstated. Growing and developing land into communities has a big impact on our environment. It’s our responsibility to ensure the design, manufacturing, construction, and operations of building is done in a sustainable way. These buildings that we live and work in are responsible for consuming many of our natural resources.
For example, in the United States, buildings account for 68% of total electricity consumption, 39% of total energy use, and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. When using the practice of green building, we can help improve air and water quality, enhance and protect ecosystems, and conserve and restore natural resources. There are so many more environmental benefits to using green building concepts, but we want to focus on material selection and why metal is the ultimate choice for sustainable buildings.
Green Material Selection: Metal Panels Make It Easy
Bridger Steel’s metal panels for roofing, siding, fencing, and accents are the ultimate green, sustainable material choice for buildings and structures. Metal has many characteristics, making it an exceptional green construction material. Here’s what makes Bridger Steel’s metal panels the right and easy choice for green building:
Earn LEED Credits
LEED building provides a framework for green buildings and is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. To become LEED certified, a project earns a variety of different points by adhering to strict prerequisites. Using Bridger Steel’s metal panels alone won’t get you LEED certified, but they can help you earn some points towards it depending on the version of LEED the project’s working with. There are four credits we can help you earn points towards: Materials & Resources credit, Sustainable Sites credit, Innovation credit, and on occasion, the Regional Priority credit. Here’s a quick overview of how these credits work:
- Materials & Resources: This is the most common credit to pursue with us. It relates to using steel coil for metal roofing and wall panels with at least 25% recycled content to qualify for the bare minimum of this credit. You could potentially earn additional credit for exceeding the minimum recycled content requirements specifying a higher recycled content steel coil, up to 50%, but averaging around 35% depending on material availability.
- Sustainable Site: This credit considers Cool Roofing to reduce the heat island effect. Many of our paint colors (aside from our darkest colors) meet the requirements needed for high solar reflectance (SRI) values.
- Innovation: This credit opens our metal panels up to a lot of options – from water collection to solar panel mounting to even setting vegetation trays over the panel ribs, the options are endless. This credit is great for architects looking to get creative.
- Regional Priority: This credit doesn’t typically apply to us because we are located a good distance from our suppliers (and typically the job site, too). However, it’s always good to check with your Product Specialist to make sure.
Bridger Steel’s metal panels are 100% recyclable. This means that any waste that comes from installation or demolition can be recycled on the job site. This quality contributes to both material selection and the building’s effects on the job site in terms of green building. Think about it like this: A 2,000 square foot house requires about 40-50 trees on average to build. That’s one acre of woodland. Using steel panels would be the equivalent of using approximately six scrapped vehicles.
Metal panels are also a very energy efficient choice for homeowners. On average, you can save up to 25% on your annual heating and cooling costs by installing metal roofing, metal siding, or both. This is because metal panels are highly reflective, so they don’t absorb the sun’s UV rays in ways that shingles, wood, and other materials do. A win for you and a win for the environment.
Solar & Rainwater Approved
Our metal roofing panels are approved for solar panel installation and rainwater harvesting. Metal panels have an incredible strength-to-weight ratio, so they can easily support a solar panel system and the mounting that’s required with them. Metal roofs are sturdy and long-lasting, so you can be confident your panels will support your solar panels for the 40-70 years (and sometimes even longer) they are expected to last.
Metal roofing panels are also ideal for rainwater harvesting, which is the process of collecting the rain that runs off a roof and storing it for later use. Steel panels create an anti-microbial surface because of the paint systems used. Any panel coated with zinc, like our Galvanized metal, is highly recommended for rainwater collection because they will be sealed and will prevent rusting and lower the iron in your water.
Green building is a crucial component of the construction industry today. It plays a huge part in many different residential and commercial markets and metal panels can help you make a greener choice. If you’re interested in learning more about why metal panels are a green, sustainable choice for your next project, get in touch with one of our team members today. Our Product Specialists can help you select the best metal panels specific to your project’s needs and make expert recommendations when it comes to green building practices. Contact Us today or fill out our Get a Quote form to get started!