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In Building Green with Steel, Health and Steel Buildings

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 3

The Health Problems Caused by Sizzling Summer Heat in the Cities The urban heat island (UHI) phenomena causes scorching temperatures every summer in many major U.S. cities. This sweltering summer heat makes cities uncomfortable, energy draining, unhealthy— and deadly. Health Consequences of Urban Heat Islands Summer heat is absorbed and magnified by the city infrastructure. Relentless temperatures promote asthma attacks, respiratory problems, heart attacks, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke in overheated city dwellers. The heat also kills. Consider… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 2

What Causes City Temperatures to Soar in Summer? In part 1 of this series, we covered the basic definition of an urban heat island (UHI). We also revealed twenty U.S. cities which have been 22°F to 28°F warmer than nearby rural areas. But why are summers in the city so much hotter than surrounding rural locations? The Main Causes of Urban Heat Island DENSITY: Cities are crowded with buildings, streets, highways, and people. Over 255 million Americans now live in… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 1

Why Summer in the City Is Becoming Unbearable In 1966, the band Lovin’ Spoonful complained about the urban heat island phenomena in their blockbuster hit “Summer in the City.” Today, summer in an urban heat island is even worse. In the years since “Summer in the City” rose to the top of the charts, Los Angeles, California’s’ average summer temperature has risen about 5°F (-15°C). Louisville, Kentucky’s average summer temperatures rose approximately 8.4°F (-13.1°C) during the same time period. Urban… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Recycling Construction and Demolition Debris- Part 3

The Benefits of Recycling and Reusing C&D Waste Researching construction and demolition debris makes me think of the animated movie “WALL·E.” In the movie, the world was overrun with garbage. The people abandoned the Earth in luxury spaceships, leaving automated robots to clean up the planet. Seven hundred years later, only the little robot WALL·E remained functioning, diligently crushing trash into cubic foot squares stacked as high as skyscrapers. Every movie has a hero. The intrepid little rusty robot is… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Recycling Construction and Demolition Debris- Part 2

Out of the Rubble: Coping with Disaster Debris As we said in Part 1 of this series, construction and demolition debris includes waste generated by natural disasters. Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and fires create massive amounts of rubble. Devastated cities and towns, already overcome by the human crisis, face the insurmountable task of clean up in the aftermath of destruction. How Much Construction and Demolition Debris is Generated in Disasters? Every natural catastrophe produces its own signature of construction and… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Recycling Construction and Demolition Debris- Part 1

Introduction to Construction and Demolition Waste in the U.S. Disposing of construction and demolition (C&D) rubble creates an enormous problem in the U.S. Finding room for all that waste is a monumental task. How Much C&D Debris is Produced? In an earlier post, we discussed the 251 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated annually in the U.S. However, that appalling figure does not include construction and demolition waste. Approximations vary wildly on the total amount of construction and… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Is Steel a Sustainable Building Material?

Steel Buildings Help Preserve Our Resources for Future Generations To meet the criteria for green building, a product needs to be “sustainable.” But what does sustainable mean? Sustainable building materials minimize environmental impacts while maximizing efficient use. Sustainability meets present needs without sacrificing future needs. Most natural resources are finite. If we squander those resources today, we compromise the lives and options of future generations. Sustainable Characteristics of Steel Steel’s two main ingredients are iron and recycled steel. Iron is… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Confessions of a Reluctant Tree Hugger

How a Steel Building Man Became a Tree Lover After spending my entire career in the steel building business, I never expected to become a “tree hugger.” After all, wood framing is the natural nemesis of metal buildings. Yet the truth can no longer be ignored. I have become a closet tree lover. Trees Are Air-Scrubbing Wonders Trees are living, growing, breathing things. That is the whole point. As long as they remain alive and growing, they continue to benefit… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Recycling Saves Energy

Double the Benefits: Stretch Resources and Conserve Energy Recycling reuses materials wisely. It is resource efficient. By recycling, we get more use from a material, avoiding dumping the material in a landfill— and conserve precious energy while we are doing it. How Does Recycling Save Energy? Every raw material requires energy to be turned into a product. Producing consumer goods from virgin raw materials uses a lot of energy resources. Processing goods from recycled materials requires far less energy. Recycled… Read More

In Building Green with Steel

Trash Talk: America’s Municipal Solid Waste

3 Easy Ways to Improve Our Planet— and Your Pocketbook Americans generate a shocking amount of trash— municipal solid waste (MSW) — 4.4 pounds per person every day! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we create 251 million tons of MSW every year— most of which ends up in landfills. What Is Included in Municipal Solid Waste Estimates? Basically, MSW is our everyday garbage. It consists mostly of: • Batteries • Bottles • Broken appliances • Cast-off furniture •… Read More

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