A steel home is the best choice you can make for the environment.
Building with wood is becoming increasingly problematic. Although it is classified as a renewable resource, every day more timber is cut down that will never be replaced. Each year, 78 million acres of rainforest are cleared, a rate that will strip the planet by 2060. America has lost almost all of its old-growth timber.
To keep up with demand for wood, lumber companies plant second and third-generation forests of rapidly growing trees and harvest them after only 20 years or less. The result is lower quality domestic lumber and increasing demand to import old-growth rainforest woods. To break this destructive cycle, we must reduce our reliance on wood.
The most attractive alternative to wood in residential construction is steel. Not only is it a superior building material, but steel has the added advantage of being almost 100% recyclable. In fact, steel is the most successfully recycled material on earth. Despite the well-intentioned campaigns encouraging people to recycle household plastic, glass, and paper products, it often costs more to reuse these materials than it does to produce them anew.
Steel is another matter. Virtually every product made from steel — from cars and refrigerators to bridge supports — contains between 25% and 65% recycled material, and when these products reach the end of their useful life they can be recycled again into high quality steel for new products. Best of all, steel recycling saves energy and protects valuable resources.
Steel recycling is one of the success stories of industrial production. From its earliest days, the steel industry has used some forms of recycling. Now, an entire segment, known as the "mini mills," specializes in producing "new" steel from scrap with greater efficiency and lower energy cost than traditional mills can produce steel from iron ore. The energy savings alone are staggering.
The Steel Recycling Institute estimates that steel recycling saves enough energy to power 18 million homes for one year. It also benefits our environment in a number of other ways. For example, almost every car and most appliances are converted to scrap and recycled into new products instead of adding millions of tons of metal to our overcrowded landfills.
A typical car contains about a ton of steel, and every ton recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone. Six cars yield enough steel to frame one of our houses, and, while it takes an entire tree to make a telephone pole, the steel in only one car will produce six or more steel poles.
Your Sierra Buildings Home model will not only contribute to a healthy environment, but it will benefit your family's health as well. Steel contains none of the irritating and even toxic chemicals used to treat so many of the wood products currently used in construction. Steel also does not support the pest infestations, rot, and mold that can introduce disease-carrying spores and bacteria into your home. Steel provides a safe, clean, environment for you and your family, one that is both natural and free from man-made and environmental health hazards.