Steel structures and sustainable construction

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Steel is a widely-used material in multi-storied residential buildings, skyscrapers, bridges, commercial buildings etc. due to the strength, durability, usability, low cost, flexibility, aesthetics, low weight and performance characteristics. The extensive usage of steel has made it an important issue to evaluate steel structures in the life cycle on environmental aspects. The structural system constitutes often more than 50% of a building’s embodied energy which is a standardized quantity and an important indicator allows you to make a comparison in terms of environmental impact. In this context, it can be also said that for sustainable buildings and to reduce environmental impacts, reducing the embodied energy of the system plays an important role. There also occur considerably energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions during the production process of steel. On average, it is known that during the production of 1.8 tons of steel, there occurs one ton of Carbon dioxide. According to the International Energy Agency’s 2010data, iron and steel industry constitute a 6.7% rate in total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on the earth. The steel industry is also responsible for resource consumption on the earth. According to US Geological Survey, 2.2 billion tons of iron ore is extracted from the ground on an annual to produce steel used in buildings, bridges and other infrastructure and also it is estimated that currently, accessible iron ore reserves are 150 billion tons on the earth. As such the accessible iron ore reserves equate to 64 years based on an annual steel demand rate in extraction. As well as depletion of iron reserves, in the literature survey, it has been found that the production phase of structural steel plays an important role in energy consumption and environmental impacts. For this reason, evaluation of the recovery facilities of structural steel is thought to be so significant in environmental burden. The advantage of structural steel is Architectural Advantages, Structural Advantages, Constructional Advantages and Sustainable Advantages. For sustainable development, it is declared that cyclic processes must replace linear ones in UNESCO Conference. Steel can be reprocessed as it is a unique component. Steel is considered to have a closed-loop material cycling. Closed-loop refers to a process of keeping materials in the life cycle by reuse and recycling rather than disposing of.