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What Makes Building With Metal Panels Sustainable?

[fa icon="calendar"] 08/04/2020 / by Kaylee Beattie

Sustainability in construction is a huge movement that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Many contractors, architects, and even homeowners are searching for the best ways to incorporate green building practices into their projects. From commercial buildings to residential homes, utilizing metal panels is a great way to ensure your next project is using the best materials on the market when it comes to sustainability.

Sustainable metal panels on a structure

What Does a Sustainable, Green Building Look Like?

There are a lot of different definitions of “green building” out there. One person’s “environmentally conscious” is another’s “not doing enough.” However, it has been generally accepted that the planning, designing, construction, and operations of buildings, no matter the market, consider the following central elements: water and energy use, material selection, indoor environment quality, and the building’s effects on the job site.

Green building itself is a holistic approach to all the elements of construction in a way that positively affects the environment. It’s an effort that has one main goal: increase the positive and decrease the negative effects on the environment throughout the entire building process from the ground up.

When it comes to selecting a material that is approved and accepted for green building, metal panels are the way to go. There are several different reasons why choosing to build with metal is a sustainable choice.

Metal is a LEED Certified Material

Green building is also considered to be LEED building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a general framework that has transformed the building and construction industry. It helps to aid contractors, architects, and homeowners in making smart, environmentally-sound decisions throughout the building process, which can then be rewarded with different certifications and plaques. Receiving a LEED plaque for a project is a well-known distinction. It signifies that a building was constructed or operated in healthy, high-performing, and resource-efficient efforts.

Bridger Steel’s metal panels meet the requirements of LEED certification due to the amount of recycled content they contain. In order to be LEED qualified, the recycled content is calculated by the percentage of recycled material in the new, cold-rolled steel coils. Our panels can be composed of up to 50% recycled material and are 100% recyclable.

metal roofing on an outbuilding

Metal’s Eco-Friendly Characteristics

100% Recyclable

The biggest role metal panels play in green building is that they are 100% recyclable, which contributes to both material selection and the building’s effects on the job site. Bridger Steel’s metal panels are 100% recyclable — any waste that comes from an installation or demolition can be recycled on the job site, which can even further qualify you for additional LEED points. Think of it this way: on average, a 2,000 square foot home will require approximately 40-50 trees, or 1 acre of woodlands, to build. Using steel instead is the equivalent of approximately six scrapped vehicles. Talk about making a difference!

Supports Solar Panel Installation

Another way to gain even more LEED points is to install solar panels, something that metal roofing is ideal for. Solar panels are considered Renewable Energy and installing them can qualify a LEED project with up to 17% of the points required. Metal panels have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any regularly used building material, so they’re ideal for solar panel installation. Using metal panels for solar panel mounting is ideal because they are proven to be sturdy and last longer than other roofing materials. If you use conventional materials like shingles, you’ll likely need to replace your roof every 10-15 years. This means removing and reinstalling solar energy systems, something that’s quite costly. With metal panels, which last for 40-70 years and sometimes even longer, you don’t have to worry about replacing or repairing your roof, or its solar panels.

Ideal For Rainwater Collection

Collecting rainwater is another important part of LEED processes because it helps to reduce runoff volume as well as improve water quality on sustainable job sites. Rainwater collection is the process of harvesting the run-off from a building, structure, or home in order to store it for later use (or immediate use). Metal panels create an ideal surface for rainwater harvesting because of their anti-microbial paint systems. They’re also able to shed large materials easily without the range of crevices and cracks for those materials to adhere to. Metal roofs have much lower concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and other bacteria, meaning they will produce rainwater with less disease-causing microorganisms. Any panel coated with zinc, like galvanized metal, is highly recommended for rainwater harvesting because they will be sealed, therefore preventing rusting and lowering the iron in your water.

Just a Few More Reasons for Metal

Metal panels are a sustainable choice. There are a few other key points as to why choosing metal panels for your next project is a green, eco-friendly option:

  • You can save up to 25% on your annual heating and cooling costs because of metal’s highly reflective qualities. Rather than absorbing the sun’s UV rays, metal panels will reflect them, which turns into direct savings for building owners and homeowners.
  • Metal roofing offers one of the longest lifespans on the market. That means no demolition, installation, and other costs to you and the environment. With some metal roofs lasting for upwards of 200 years, you can be confident in choosing a material that will last.
  • Metal roofs are low maintenance, requiring hardly any of your attention post-installation. With no need for annual maintenance, which typically includes harsh chemicals and cleaners that aren’t good for you or the environment, you can be even more confident in choosing metal panels.

If you want to learn more about why metal is a green, sustainable building material, talk to one of our Product Specialists. We can help you select the best metal panel for your next project and make recommendations on how to go one step further when it comes to sustainability. Get in touch with us today.

Topics: Sustainability, residential, Cool Roof, Home Advice

Kaylee Beattie

Written by Kaylee Beattie