There is a growing interest in South Africa for sustainable building practices and alternative building materials that can reduce the industry’s impact on the environment, as well as the energy consumption of buildings or houses. As an innovative technology company and leading global supplier of steel profiles in the world, JANSEN by M2G analyses the reasons for the resurgence of using steel.  

As a durable, highly recyclable material, steel has emerged as one of the most sustainable options in construction and architectural design. Jansen explains that steel doors and windows systems can help reduce the environmental impact of construction while still delivering high-quality and long-lasting structures. 

Longevity and innovation 

Steel is an incredibly durable material that can withstand harsh weather conditions and extreme temperatures, is fire resistant and immune to the damaging effects of moisture, mould and infestations. The high strength-to-weight ratio of steel allows for the creation of structures that can support large loads and withstand significant stress. 

This allows for more daring architecture and innovative initiatives with complex and extravagant geometries. It is the only material that can be used to create iconic, large-scale entrance doors or windows (with casement sizes of up to 6 000 x 3 000mm) that will last for decades without requiring repairs or replacements. 

The concept of “urban mining” 

Steel is not only 98% recyclable, but also infinitely recyclable without losing any of its properties or quality, placing it at the epitome of environmentally conscious building frame materials. The strength of steel does not wear down, creep or buckle, and can easily be repurposed and reused. This is the concept of “urban mining” – a term coined in the 1980s, which refers to the process of recovering rare metals through mechanical and chemical treatments. 

Practical examples 

When the old library in Mechelen, Belgium, became obsolete, the steel Jansen windows, which dated from 1990, were fully reused to design the new library that is situated in the renovated monastery today. 

The design of the Kevn Expo building in Eindhoven (main image) was made with an overstock of steel material that hasn’t been used for a specific project. These “dead stocks” were offered to Jansen’s network of architects, who design these residual flows into their new projects. 

Energy efficiency 

Steel is an energy-efficient material that helps to reduce the conductivity of heat and the energy consumption of buildings and houses. Over the lifespan of the building, steel requires much less energy to heat, cool and insulate, thus an insulated steel home can save at least 30% of the energy bill. This, in turn, reduces the energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. 

Benefits of steel 

  • It is a prefabricated material that is produced off-site, minimising on-site waste and reducing construction-related pollution.  
  • Steel components such as doors or windows can be custom-made to exact specifications, reducing the need for additional materials.  
  • Construction with steel can be modular, allowing for faster construction times. 

Meeting green building codes and standards 

Steel is an excellent choice for sustainable construction, offering durability, recyclability, energy efficiency and low waste. Its properties make it ideal for use in a variety of applications, including windows, doors and facades. As the construction industry continues to adopt sustainable practices, the use of steel is likely to increase in the South African market. 

JANSEN by M2G is the official distributor of Jansen, the Swiss company ranked as a world leader for steel architectural building systems. With a showroom in Cape Town, they offer solutions for residential, heritage, glazed fire, glazed security and commercial facades. 

For more information, contact JANSEN by M2G:
Tel: +27 21 110 5237

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