Sustainable Steel

Date:July 14, 2020
Contact:Tony Bouquot, General Manager

Metal buildings are predominantly made of steel, which is the most recycled material in North America. Steel can be used in a building to comply with the requirements of sustainable design standards and ratings systems.

The typical design elements of a metal building consist of primary and secondary framing members, metal walls and roofs, which are all made of steel. This makes a metal building more sustainable because steel is 100% recyclable and can be recycled into the same material of the same quality again and again.

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), through recycling, the steel industry saves enough energy to supply the annual electricity needs of more than 18 million homes. A single ton of steel recycled conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone. Thanks in part to the use of recycled steel, producing a ton of steel in North America today requires less than half the energy required to produce a ton of steel 40 years ago, for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

In terms of the steel used in construction, AISI notes that “Structural steel produced in North America typically contains 90 percent or more recycled steel. Steel framing itself contains a minimum of 25 percent recycled steel and is continually and completely recyclable.” Additionally, steel used as a building material can help a project meet sustainability requirements in the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) and ratings programs such as the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC's) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program.

Learn more about metal buildings and sustainability here (

Read AISI's Sustainability in Steel fact sheets below:

Steel Sustainability in Auto Fact Sheet Steel Sustainability in Construction Fact Sheet Steel Sustainability in Recycling Fact Sheet Steel Sustainability in Steel Making Fact Sheet