20th Jul 2023 -

With organisations such as the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) declaring that sustainable building practices are continuing to gain momentum, builders, architects and engineers are constantly exploring innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects. One such solution is the use of metal stud and track products in green building practices. These lightweight, versatile, and eco-friendly alternatives to traditional wood framing offer numerous benefits, from increased structural integrity to improved indoor air quality. In this article, we delve into the advantages of metal studs and tracks by highlighting their compatibility with green building principles and offering practical tips on incorporating them into sustainable construction projects.

What are the green construction benefits of metal studs and tracks?

Metal studs and tracks offer a wide range of sustainability and eco-friendly advantages. 

1. Reduced environmental impact

Because metal studs and tracks are typically made from recycled steel, it significantly reduces the need for new raw materials. By utilising recycled materials, the demand for mining and processing new materials is decreased, leading to a lower environmental impact.

2. Energy efficiency

Metal studs and tracks provide excellent thermal conductivity, allowing for efficient insulation in the building envelope. This helps to minimise heat loss or gain and leads to an improvement in energy efficiency. Also, by reducing the energy consumption for heating and cooling, the overall carbon footprint of your building is reduced.

3. Sustainable manufacturing process

The production of metal studs and tracks involves a manufacturing process that can be resource-efficient and environmentally friendly. Generally, steel manufacturers employ energy-efficient technologies and practices such as lighting and motor systems to reduce emissions and conserve resources.

4. Durability and longevity

Metal studs and tracks are highly durable and resistant to various environmental factors, such as rot, pests, and fire. They do not warp, shrink, or expand with changes in humidity, ensuring structural integrity over time. Also, their longevity reduces the need for replacement and minimises construction waste.

5. Reduced waste generation

Compared to traditional wood framing, metal studs and tracks generate less waste during construction. They are typically delivered pre-cut and pre-drilled, which reduces on-site cutting and material waste. Plus, the scraps generated during installation can be recycled, which further minimises waste sent to landfills.

6. Recyclability

At the end of a building's life cycle, metal studs and tracks can be easily recycled. Steel is considered to be one of the most recycled materials globally, and recycling metal components reduces the demand for new resources which minimises waste.

7. Health and indoor air quality

Metal studs and tracks do not release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other harmful emissions into the indoor environment. Because of this, metal studs and tracks contribute to better indoor air quality and promote improved health and wellbeing.

How to make your metal stud framing project eco-friendly

A construction worker wearing a black jumper installing a metal stud and track system for an eco-friendly project.

From discovering the benefits above, creating an eco-friendly metal stud frame building project is not only beneficial for the environment but also contributes to healthier indoor spaces. Here are some valuable tips to help you incorporate sustainable practices into your construction plans.

1. Material selection

When it comes to choosing your metal studs, be sure to opt for environmentally friendly materials to optimise your sustainability-conscious project. Look for studs made from recycled steel, or stud options with a high percentage of recycled content.

2. Saving energy

You should consider incorporating insulation into your metal stud framing project to improve energy efficiency. Choose insulation materials with high R-values (the measure of the material’s thermal resistance) and low environmental impact, such as cellulose or recycled denim insulation.

3. Efficient design

Be sure to plan your framing layout efficiently to minimise waste and reduce the amount of materials you will need. Meticulous planning will help you to optimise the design and minimise the number of studs required, as well as maximise the structural integrity.

4. Waste management

It is a good idea to implement a waste management strategy by recycling or properly disposing of any construction waste generated during the framing project. Sort and separate recyclable materials to minimise their impact on the environment.

5. Non-toxic materials

Make a conscious effort to not use non-toxic adhesives, sealants, and paints when installing and finishing your metal stud framing. Also, you should avoid products containing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can harm indoor air quality.

6. Sustainable finishing

Instead of using plasterboard for projects such as a metal stud partition wall, choose sustainable and renewable materials for the finishing touches. For example, you can use locally-sourced recycled timber for walls and flooring, fibre cement sheets and low-VOC paints.

7. Water efficiency

If your metal studs and tracks project involves any plumbing work, you should consider installing water-efficient fixtures to minimise water consumption. Examples of this are low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads to conserve water.

8. Natural lighting

Strategically placing windows or skylights to incorporate as much natural lighting as possible into your design. This reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day, saving energy and creating a pleasant and welcoming environment.

9. Energy-efficient lighting

When artificial lighting is necessary for your project, you should make a conscious effort to choose energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs. These bulbs consume less energy, have a longer lifespan, and reduce the overall environmental impact.

10. Proper ventilation

To improve indoor air quality and reduce the need for energy-intensive cooling systems, ensure that proper ventilation is utilised throughout your space. For this to be effective, you can use energy-efficient fans or consider installing a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system.

11. Renewable energy integration

If possible, explore the option of integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, into your project. This will offset energy consumption and reduce your carbon footprint.

What is a BREEAM certification?

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is one of the most widely recognised sustainable building certification schemes in the world. It assesses the environmental performance of buildings across several categories, including energy, water, materials, waste, pollution, and management. Once a BREEAM rating has been awarded, it can greatly increase the marketability of your building, attracting sustainability-conscious investors and buyers.

To achieve a BREEAM certification, your building will have to undergo a comprehensive assessment conducted by an accredited professional or assessor. The assessment evaluates the design, construction, and operational performance of your building against a set of sustainability criteria. Once the assessment is complete, your building is scored based on its performance in each category, and an overall rating is awarded.

The BREEAM rating scale ranges from pass, good, very good, excellent, to outstanding, with higher ratings indicating a higher level of sustainability. Learn more about the BREEAM process and how to get started. Aside from BREEAM, there are other certification schemes available, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), another internationally recognised certification system.

Another is the Home Quality Mark, which focuses on the quality and performance of new residential buildings. It is important to note that one sustainability certification scheme vs another may have different sets of requirements and criteria. Therefore, it is crucial to review the specific guidelines of your chosen scheme beforehand. 

Can you save money by installing steel frame building materials?

A construction worker wearing a black hard hat and orange hi-vis vest working on a metal stud and track eco-friendly project.

The simple answer is yes: installing metal stud framing and track materials can potentially save you money in various ways. But you should take into consideration that any cost savings will depend on the size of your project, where you are in the UK, and design complexity. Below are the key areas why installing metal framing and track can save you money.

Cost-saving factorReason
Durability and low maintenanceMetal studs and tracks are highly durable and resistant to issues such as rot, termites, and warping that can affect traditional wood studs. They require minimal maintenance over their lifespan, leading to long-term cost savings by cutting repair and replacement expenses.
Quick constructionMetal stud framing is known for its efficiency and speed of installation. Also, metal ceiling and wall studs are lightweight and easy to handle, allowing for a faster build. With proper planning and skilled labour, the construction process can be fast-tracked, resulting in lower labour costs.
Fire-resistanceBecause metal tracks and studs are naturally fire-resistant, it can result in potential insurance savings. Insurance companies often provide lower premiums for structures with fire-resistant materials, considering them to be less prone to fire-related damage.
Cheaper materialMetal studs are typically more cost-effective compared to traditional wood studs. They are readily available, often priced lower, and can be purchased in standardised sizes, reducing material waste and costs.
Energy costsBy incorporating insulation between the metal studs, you can enhance thermal performance, which reduces heat transfer and improves energy efficiency. As a result, this can lead to savings on heating and cooling costs over time.

Your one-stop-shop for the best quality metal studs and tracks

At Building Materials Nationwide, we offer a seamless online shopping experience for customers looking to buy metal studs and tracks. By visiting our website, you can explore our extensive range, compare sizes and specifications, and make informed decisions for your sustainable building project. Whether you need accessories such as screw fixings or metal studs and tracks, trust us to provide top-quality products for your building needs. 

For our trade customers, we offer a straightforward and efficient trade account service. From competitive trade pricing to personalised support, our trade accounts are designed to cater to all of your unique requirements. We can also organise speedy UK-wide delivery and help you find the tool and material products you are after to get the job done. Join our network and unlock a whole host of fantastic benefits with Building Materials Nationwide. Simply sign up straight on our website or reach out to our dedicated trade team and give us a call.