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Frequently Asked Questions

SDI has an online AIA/GBCI course called Steel: Green Now, Green Forever with detailed information on the green elements of steel. It provides one AIA HSW and/or GVCI hour.

Green/LEED
SDI-127-G-06
LEED Credit Information

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  • How do you handle the 500 mile minimum on regional restrictions?

USGBC LEED, Materials & Resources, Section 5.1 and 5.2 provide the guidelines for the 500 mile minimum requirement. The guidelines expand beyond the location of the manufacturer to include where the materials were extracted and processed. Most architects agree that this is the most difficult credit to achieve due to the nature of the global economy.

  • What's so great about recycling steel? Forests are renewable, trees grow back and waste wood is shredded and recycled as compost or chips.

Steel is an infinitely reusable material without any loss of function, durability or quality. At the end of their useful life, about 88% of all steel products and nearly 100% of structural steel beams and plates used in construction are recycled into new steel products.

  • Isn't wood more energy-efficient than steel?

On the contrary, steel doors can be up to four times more energy efficient than wood doors. Steel doors and frames allow minimal air infiltration which results in less energy loss between the door's interior and exterior surfaces. Steel is dimensionally stable and when properly designed, can provide an exceptionally tight building envelope for less air loss and better HVAC efficiency over time.

  • What about steel doors with a polystyrene or a polyurethane core? They're not recyclable, are they?

Yes. All steel doors-honeycomb core, polystyrene core, polyurethane core and steel-stiffened core - are recyclable.

  • What LEED points are available for using steel, including steel doors and frames?

The U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System aims to improve occupant well-being, environmental performance and economic returns of buildings using established and innovative practices, standards and technologies.

Steel construction materials, including hollow metal doors and frames, typically generate credits in green building certification programs and reduce the building's carbon footprint.

Materials & Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content intends to increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of virgin materials. Steel building products contribute positively toward points under Credits 4.1 and 4.2:

Credit 4.1 (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 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.