2010 | Greening Structural Steel Design, Fabrication and Erection: A Case Study of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research Support Facilities Project

This study seeks to identify and evaluate opportunities to reduce the environmental impacts of structural steel through case study research of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF) in Golden, Colorado. The building was designed around 23 sustainability goals, including net-zero energy usage, and the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The LEED Rating System, however, falls short in addressing and rewarding environmentally preferable practices in the structural steel design, fabrication, erection, and overall delivery process. This research identifies opportunities for reducing environmental impacts within these stages and quantifies the associated benefits. Key stakeholders from the structural steel industry have joined to support the research including KL&A Inc., Paxton & Vierling Steel (PVS), LPR Construction, Haselden Construction, and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).The research is divided into two distinct but interrelated parts: (1) individual and group interviews to identify potential contractual, relational, and environmental improvements for the structural steel delivery process and (2) a life-cycle inventory assessment of the structural steel for the project and alternative scenarios for additional environmental impact reductions in fabrication and erection.

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Citation: Guggemos, A., Plaut, J., Bergstrom, E., Gotthelf, H., Haney, J., & Ozbek, M. (2010). Greening Structural Steel Design, Fabrication and Erection: A Case Study of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research Support Facilities Project. Retrieved from Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University website: http://ibe.colostate.edu/documents/Green_Steel_White_Paper.pdf