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Best Practices in Contracting: Why Use Domestic Steel Pipe in the Industry –Views of Wheatland Tube - speaker, Greg Maurer

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Wheatland supports the recently announced initiatives by the Trump administration to increase the use of domestically made steel in steel pipelines, increase the domestic steel continent in fabricated products to grow U.S. jobs and allow communities across the country to take advantage of a manufacturing renaissance.  Wheatland Tube had the opportunity to participate in a podcast addressing this topic.  Lauri A. Rollings, Executive Director of the Plumbing Mechanical Sheet Metal Contractors’ Alliance was the moderator and Greg Maurer, Director of Technical Services for Wheatland Tube provided his views and a few key insights on this topic.

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4 Advantages of Specifying Steel Construction for LEED Projects

According to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), there are numerous advantages of specifying steel construction for a LEED project.

In fact, the LEED system rewards the building industry for higher recycled steel content in their building materials. Steel is a natural fit for green building initiatives and can make the greatest contribution to the Materials and Resources LEED category that encourages using sustainable building materials and reducing waste.

As the worldwide demand for steel increases, the available scrap will be stretched among more and more steel products, meaning that more steel from virgin materials will enter the production stream to meet the demand. However, because of steel’s high recovery rate, more scrap will also be available for future recycling, thus minimizing the long-term amount of virgin material required.Steel is dimensionally stable and, when properly designed, can provide an exceptionally tight building envelope for less air loss and better HVAC performance over time.Steel is made to exact specifications, so on-site waste is minimized.Material from demolition or construction can be easily recycled, with the magnetic properties of steel greatly facilitating its separation from other materials.

Do you have experience with a LEED-registered project? Tell us about  your experience with steel's LEED benefits in the comments section below.

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Is LEED Certification Worth It?

The USGBC’s LEED rating system is the world’s most popular green building performance metric. LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability, and is the best way to demonstrate that a building project is truly “green.” Green (also known as green construction or sustainable) buildings refer to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

Cost/benefit of a green building project:

According to the NRDC, Green building skeptics sometimes argue that it's difficult or even impossible to build green without paying a big cost premium. LEED Certification involves a massive amount of document production, review and verification. These certification costs could be better used toward materials capable of making the building even more sustainable.

Often when a LEED rating is pursued, the cost of initial design and construction rises. One reason for the higher cost is project designers may not fully understand sustainable construction principles. LEED is a design tool and not a performance measurement tool. Some of the finer points of LEED could possibly lead to misunderstandings between the design team, construction team, and client, which could result in construction delays.

LEED has been developed and continuously modified by workers in the green building industry; especially in the ten largest metro areas in the U.S. Unfortunately, LEED certified buildings have been slower to penetrate small and mid-major markets. Also, some criticism suggests that the LEED rating system is not sensitive and does not vary enough with regard to local environmental conditions. 

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It’s Not An Optical Illusion – Galvanizing Is Green

When we think of galvanized steel, we tend to think of bright, shiny, silver things like electrical conduit, fence posts, old school buckets, and garbage cans. Silver –not green – is the color that comes to mind (unless you’re thinking about Wheatland Tube’s green Color-Check™ EMT, but that’s a discussion for another day!).  However, maybe we should think green when we see a galvanized tube instead.

Of course, the green we’re talking about in this case is the idea of doing things in an environmentally responsible way.  JMC Steel is committed to being part of the ongoing transformation to a greener world. One of the ways we’re doing that is through our commitment to the solar energy market with our galvanized hollow structural sections (HSS). 

Solar energy offers a clean and renewable supplement to fossil fuel energy sources, and we’re excited to be part of that industry’s growth.  A major challenge that this technology faces is the often harsh environments where solar energy is most efficiently collected.  The steel supporting those delicate and expensive panels needs to be strong, and it needs to last.  Studies have shown that hot dip galvanizing (HDG) can provide 50 or more years of maintenance free corrosion protection. It’s clear, therefore, that JMC’s galvanized HSS have the long-lasting strength to support the solar energy industry.

If you’ve ever seen (or even been relatively close to) a HDG kettle, you might be thinking that a process as energy intensive as HDG can’t possibly be good for the environment, even if it does allow for the growth of the solar industry. 

(If you haven’t seen, or been relatively close to, an HDG kettle, a very basic description of the process is that zinc metal is heated until it melts at around 800° F, and the steel to be treated is dipped into or passed through a kettle full of the molten zinc).

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For Electrical Contractors the Color of Opportunity is Green

In an economy still struggling to recover, most businesses, especially ones tied to construction, have serious concerns about what the next year holds.

Times have been tough for many commercial electrical contractors, despite some optimistic construction forecasts.

Even where projects are emerging or restarting, project owners are often placing increased price pressure on installers and suppliers. It’s still largely a buyer’s market.

Do robust opportunities exist? The answer lies in a set of industries that are rapidly emerging as part of the green economy. Green building and renewable energy sectors present an enormous potential for contractors to grow their businesses in the short and long-term. Driven by tax incentives and the rising costs of fossil fuels, opportunities will continue to expand.

Commercial Green Construction

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