The American Institute of Steel Construction has released updated environmental product declarations (EPDs) “to help designers and building owners design more environmentally friendly buildings and bridges,” according to an AISC news release.
The organization develops industry-average environmental product declarations (EPDs) for three products: fabricated hot-rolled structural sections, fabricated steel plate, and fabricated hollow structural sections (HSS)—the latter developed with the Steel Tube Institute. “These documents are designed to facilitate an accurate, apples-to-apples comparison of the structural materials on the market today,” the release says. These documents are updated every five years.
“Many people associate steel with old smokestacks and air pollution, but structural steel is now the premier green building material,” said AISC President Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD. “Over the past three decades, the steel industry has reduced greenhouse gas and overall emissions by 36%. And the American structural steel industry is leading the way to a greener future with a carbon footprint nearly half the world average. By comparison, Chinese structural steel has three times the global warming potential of domestic steel.”
Many rating systems (LEED V4), standards (ASHRAE 189.1), green building codes (IgCC), and specific customers require the submission of environmental product declarations (EPDs) for products delivered to the project site. These EPD life-cycle assessments provide information on environmental impacts related to the manufacture of the product, including global warming potential, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, and ozone creation.
AISC works with its mill members to develop industry average EPDs for structural steel produced in the United States. In addition to quantifying the impacts of the mill processes, the EPD work quantifies the industry average per ton environmental impacts of the fabrication process.