Designers and builders have long recognized and lauded steel for its strength, durability, and functionality. Increasingly, however, architects are recognizing steel’s important environmental attributes — especially its high recycled content and high reclamation rate.
For many years, there has been a strong economic motive to incorporate recycling into the process for making steel, but today's environmental concerns make recycling even more important. Recycling saves money while conserving energy andresources, as well as reducing solid, liquid, and gaseous wastes. Recycling also helps to spread the energy impact of the original extraction and manufacturing of the material over infinite generations of new steel.
Not only does using recycled steel contribute positively to the bottom line, but it also contributes towards LEED. The location of the fabricator, and not just the mill, can be when calculating the local and regional material used on a project. This helps designers reach LEED 3.1, 3.2 in addition to 4.1 and 4.2:
Credit 4.1 (1 point) "Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of postconsumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10% (based on cost) of the total value of the materials in the project."
Credit 4.2 (1 point) "Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 20% of the total value of the materials in the project."
*image used as courtesy of http://www.reuse-steel.org