Sustainable Construction: The Environmental Impact of Welding Techniques


Sustainable Construction: The Environmental Impact of Welding Techniques

Welding is a crucial component of many industries — from aerospace to construction, its impact can be seen in almost every large scale project.

Unfortunately, traditional welding processes also come with a set of environmental challenges. Poor welding processes have been linked to high energy consumption, toxic greenhouse gas emissions, and excessive waste levels, among others.

As climate change concerns continue to rise, welding processes must adapt to be more sustainable. Fortunately, by making minor changes to processes and equipment, it’s possible to reduce significantly the environmental impact of welding techniques and build more sustainable construction practices.

The Environmental Impact of Welding

First, let’s identify what environmental impact welding processes have in construction.

To fuse two metals, traditional welding practices use heat and energy. As a byproduct, it also releases several toxic emissions. 

The emissions include both minute and nano pollutants, as well as several toxic gases like carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen oxides. 

Improper practices, meanwhile, lead to significant waste of precious materials and gases, which are in short supply. This waste, in turn, when not disposed of the right way, can significantly harm the environment. 

At the same time, the welding process requires significant energy consumption, which, more often than not, comes from burning fossil fuels. 

Embracing Eco-Friendly Welding Techniques

One solution to reduce the environmental impact of welding is embracing eco-friendly techniques. Depending on the project in question, there are several welding processes welders can choose between — some require less energy, and others produce less waste. 

Certain solid-state welding techniques, such as friction stir welding or magnetic pulse welding, for instance, are better suited for the environment as they produce fewer dangerous fumes, don’t require filler gases, and use less energy. But, of course, these processes are not ideal for every construction project. 

Fortunately, other techniques, like laser arc hybrid welding and gas metal arc welding, are also known to offer certain eco-friendly benefits. 

Using Recyclable Materials and High-Quality Equipment

The environmental impact of welding can also be reduced by embracing recycling in all its forms. This includes recycling used metal scraps instead of disposing of them or reusing salvaged and reclaimed materials. 

At the same time, using higher quality welding equipment also helps reduce waste generated in the long run and reduces the amount of energy consumed.

Implementing Automation 

However, one of the most significant ways to achieve all of these sustainability goals is by embracing automation in welding processes. 

For one, automation leads to less waste. Since robots are highly efficient at producing consistent welds and do away with human error, there is a significant reduction in the amount of unused by-products generated. This precision also implies that construction sites will need less energy and materials.

Another benefit of automation is that it reduces the need for human intervention. Fewer workers mean less energy requirements — to keep the lights on, for instance — and lower pollution generated from transportation back and forth to a site.

Automation tools can also help in streamlining the recycling process.

Embrace Green Welding with nexAir 

Since the 1940s, nexAir has been at the forefront of the welding revolution — embracing new techniques and offering high-quality equipment to ensure that industries across the Southeast can Forge Forward sustainably. With our automation tools and extensive training and KnowHow, we can help reduce the environmental impact of poor welding practices and human error and usher in a future of green welding. 


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