A steel house frame is one part only of all the materials used in the construction of the house. Further, the total energy used to produce all of the materials in a house has been calculated in some studies at less than 6% of the total energy consumed in the running of the house over its lifetime.
Home-owners can make a much more substantial contribution to the environment through good designs, thoughtful orientation of the building, and the use of building materials and insulation to conserve energy consumed by air conditioning or heating over the life cycle of the home. They can install solar power, and engage in waste recycling.
They can minimise the impact of the building on a sensitive site. For example, on sloping sites the use of raised steel floors can minimise disturbance to the natural contours of the land and enable better management of storm water run-off. Storage of rainwater in tanks can contribute. Also, by using a steel frame the home-owner can do away with the ongoing use of chemicals for controlling termites.