Metal Architecture Home

A Myriad of Options

Walking around the American Institute of Architects' National Convention in Philadelphia last month proved one thing. There is definitely no shortage of building materials to choose from and no shortage of architects interested in learning more about them. The show floor was full of companies displaying current and new products, as well as sharing their product expertise with architects and designers.

On the metal architecture and construction side, architects have a variety of metal building systems manufacturers, along with an abundance of metal wall and roof panels, to choose from. No two manufacturers are exactly alike, and each option an architect has can change more than just the look and feel of a building, it can change the cost and energy efficiency of it.

When faced with a dizzying amount of options to choose from, architects have to figure out the best products for their projects. Besides the obvious side of how products are differentiated-colors, styles, thickness, properties, etc.-many manufacturers are coming out with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to provide transparent information about the life cycle environmental impact of their products.

The advantages of using a product with an EPD in your building reaches beyond the knowledge of using a product that has been analyzed and looked at for its materials, and how it fits into the overall building life cycle. Products with EPDs help fulfill LEED requirements and are also required if a project is working toward Living Building certification.

In recent months, the type of EPDs available has extended from building envelope products to the building framing system. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) have released EPDs for fabricated hot-rolled steel sections and fabricated steel plate, and the Steel Joist Institute (SJI) and Steel Deck Institute (SDI) have jointly released EPDs for steel joists and steel decks manufactured in the United States and Canada.

These new EPDs from the steel side make it easier to feel confident in the products that you are putting into the buildings you are designing. And, when it comes to choosing the right products for your projects, there is no shortage of options available.


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