Building the Green Way with Metal
The environmental movement continues to address more issues in the world today. Our present status sees us with considerably less overt industrial and commercial pollution than we had in the pre-EPA days, but we are still using too many fossil fuels that are not only pollutive to produce and use but also cannot be sustained indefinitely. In response to these needs, private industry, government, and citizens are all developing plans to generate our energy in a more environmentally responsible way. While the fuel sources often hit the headlines first, it’s the materials behind the scenes that will make it all possible. And at the heart of it all is the use of metal.
Building New Technologies
The entire conversation on greener energy is focused on developing better methods to power and fuel the economy. And every solution, whether it’s wind, water, nuclear, or something else, will require new equipment and facilities.
If the prairies of the Great Plains are to be dotted with windmills, there will have to be someone to build them. Power companies will have to find a steel fabrication company that can meet their demands for quality and durability. They’ll need cable to carry the power to the grid. They’ll need new substations and transformer sites to manage the electricity they’re making by harnessing the wind. And that’s just one example.
Without quality metal fabrication, there is no way to build a petroleum-free future. There will always have to be things built to generate energy.
Meeting New Needs
From the first days of electrical power, most people just assumed it would maintain a consistent pattern of operability. They never expected prolonged outages or any of the dramatic price spikes we’ve seen.
But today’s consumer wants to hedge. They want to protect themselves not only from big jumps in rates but also from outages. They understand the possibility of attacks on our power grid, and they want to make sure that essential home and workplace functions can be carried on without total reliance on outside power.
The market is meeting that demand. Cities and small communities are implementing plans to lessen their dependence on outside energy, working to protect their families and businesses from whatever problems may befall the antiquated, complex, and vulnerable power grid. Those plans involve lots of new construction and new technologies, which in large part utilize metal as major components.
Improving Old Methods
Things have to be built. Whether it’s cars, buildings, tools, or roads, it’s to be expected that some type of demand will create a need for them to be built. Even the most eco-minded people agree with that.
Where the problem emerges is in when things have to be rebuilt too soon because of the materials that were used in them. Your home will need a new roof someday, but when it’s covered with asphalt shingles expected to last 25 years instead of a metal roof that could be there decades longer, that’s a problem.
Everything from gas lines to railroad trestles is built out of metal, and when quality, modern alloys are used, their useful life is extended. The longer things last, the less environmental impact there is in replacing them.
The focus on energy modernization has always been most publicly seen as being about the battle between coal and wind, gas and solar, and so forth. It’s absolutely true that the energy source itself needs to be managed, but it’s also true that the implementation will require new thinking with old materials. The role of steel and other metals in the green evolution of our energy system is clear.