Metals – Recycled and Regional Credit Guide


Metal Recycling content and Regional extraction, harvesting and manufacturing locations may be difficult to determine or even to understand for your project. Here are some of the highlights of a letter Green Cincinnati prepared for American Metal Supply to assist their customers learning the basics of documentation as well as typical steel mill documentation available.

Dear LEED Project Documentation Manager

American Metal Supply can help you achieve your U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) project documentation goals. As you probably already know:

All steel may use the 25-percent DEFAULT RECYCLED CONTENT
Recycled content may be as high as 35-percent to 95-percent
Regional content may be as high as 60-percent to 100-percent

While we can guarantee the minimum 25-percent recycled content, we are committed to using the most efficient recycling mills to maximize the recycled percentages.  We will also attempt to source within the 500 mile project radius to gain additional credits for regional content (This is driven by project and mill geography as well as availability of material from the optimal regional source.)

The intent of LEED Recycled Content is to increase the demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, thereby reducing impacts from extraction and processing of virgin materials.

25 Percent Default Steel Recycled Content – Until you receive your order’s documentation, LEED allows you to use 25 percent as the recycled content for steel. The average recycled content of rebar and most structural shapes (red iron) is around 95 percent. Average recycled content of light-gauge steel studs and other light-gauge framing is 35 percent. The LEED definition of recycled content encourages post-consumer recycled content. The LEED goals are to use materials with recycled content such as the sum of the post-consumer recycled content plus 1/2 of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10 percent based on cost, of the total value of the materials in the project. One to two additional points may be earned for up to 20- to 30-percent. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing components are excluded. If only a fraction of a product or material is recycled, then only that percentage (by weight) must contribute to the recycled value.

Definition: Post-Consumer Recycled Content – is the percentage of material in a product that was consumer waste. The recycled material was generated by household, commercial, industrial, or institutional end-users and can no longer be used for its intended purpose. It includes returns of materials from the distribution chain (ISO 14021). Examples include construction and demolition debris, materials collected though recycling programs, discarded products (e.g. furniture, cabinetry, decking), and landscaping waste (e.g. leaves, grass clippings, tree trimmings).

Definition: Pre-Consumer Recycled Content – formerly known as postindustrial content, is the percentage of material in a product that is recycled from manufacturing waste. Examples include planer shavings, sawdust, bagasse, walnut shells, culls, trimmed materials, over issue publications, and obsolete inventories. Excluded are rework, regrind, or scrap materials capable of being reclaimed within the same process that generated them (ISO 14021), for example, foundry trees and scrap put back in the Electric Arc Furnace.

The intent of LEED Regional Content is to increase demand for building materials and products that are extracted and manufactured within the region, thereby supporting the use of indigenous resources and reducing the environmental impacts from transportation.

Regional Content Percentage – There are no default standards for regional content percentages. With special attention to sourcing we can provide a high percentage to meet the regional content requirements of your project location. For example a local LEED Platinum project documented steel components with regional contents of 60-to 100-percent. The LEED goals are to use building materials or products that have been extracted, harvested or recovered, as well as manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site for a minimum of 10%, based on cost of the total materials value. One to two additional points may be earned for up to 20- to 40-percent. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing components are excluded. If only a fraction of a product or material is extracted, harvested, or recovered and manufactured locally, then only that percentage (by weight) must contribute to the regional value. Use the location from which they were salvaged as the point of extraction or harvest.

Definition: Regionally Extracted Materials – are raw materials taken from within 500-mile radius of the project site.

Definition: Regionally Manufactured Materials – are assembled as finished products within a 500-mile radius of the project site. Assembly does not include on-site assemble, erection, or installation of finished components.

We want to make it easier being green. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have or for presentations about LEED credit documentation. Thank you for your interest in American Metal Supply’s products and services. Complete documentation will be supplied with you order.

Best regards,
Michael Guy
Vice President
American Metal Supply
Cincinnati (513) 396-6600
Louisville (502) 634-4321

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