Stainless steel shines in urban applications

Need proof of the enduring strength of stainless steel in the urban environment? Consider the New York City skyline. Showcasing today’s design giants, that skyline is a glittering case study of landmark projects built with Outokumpu stainless steel.

These days, the expected lifetime of a truly sustainable building is at least 60 years. For long-lasting, durable exteriors, architects and building owners choose stainless steel.

“They’re looking for a material with minimal maintenance requirements,” says Catherine Houska, an internationally recognized expert on architectural metals, “and one that doesn’t have to be replaced over the course of the building’s life cycle.”

60% of the US population lives in coastal areas with salt spray; 70% lives in areas where deicing salts are used. New York has both. In highly corrosive environments like these, stainless steel meets that challenge as a corrosion-resistant and durable material.

Assessing impacts
Stainless steel also makes sense from a financial perspective. Painted panels, for instance, may appear less costly initially, but it is important to consider all final installed costs. The increased strength and light diffusion of cold-worked patterned stainless steel like Outokumpu Deco Linen and Deco Laser makes panel thickness and overall weight reduction possible.

“Often people look at raw material cost and assume stainless will cost more,” Houska says, “but when the cost of coating and reduced thickness is taken into consideration, the initial cost differential can be smaller than you would think.”

Additionally, life cycle assessment has become increasingly important in evaluating materials. In a salt-laden environment, painted metal must be replaced repeatedly during the building’s intended service life, making it more expensive and less sustainable. Properly specified stainless steel can provide 100-plus years of service with minimal maintenance.

“The top of the Chrysler building has only been cleaned twice during its 85 years of existence,” Houska notes, “and it is still in excellent condition.”

Published tammi 20, 2016