How AGWAY Steel can Contribute to LEED Credits

The following sections review the relevant LEED Canada NC 2009 categories for which Agway steel components can contribute to earning LEED points.

It should be noted that most of the points require a coordinated approach by the design team and cannot be achieved merely by using a particular material or technology. Nevertheless, it may be possible to achieve some points merely by using steel, and use of steel components can contribute to obtaining over 50 points in LEED Canada NC 2009 as part of a holistic approach.

Sustainable Site (SS)

This section of LEED deals with issues related to site selection (brownfield vs greenfield), site design (materials, density, drainage), site access (transport issues and availability of facilities), heat island effects and light pollution effects.

One prerequisite and 26 points are available.

This credit is designed to channel development into urban areas with existing infrastructure, protecting Greenfield sites.

Using steel structures and components can help address many of the problems of building in urban centres. Engineered, prefabricated steel components can be speedily installed reducing construction time and disruption on the site. Furthermore, the flexibility that steel design offers enables difficult urban sites to be more readily exploited. The wide spanning capabilities, fast tract construction, integration of services, just-in-time delivery, reduced storage requirements, less disruption on cramped sites, and lighter weight of steel buildings leading to smaller foundations, all contribute to more workable steel solutions on difficult urban sites. In addition, many steel technologies such as steel pile foundations and roof and wall cladding require little removal of waste from site.

Increasingly, developers in Europe are using steel frame for both residential and commercial building in tight city centre sites due to the speed, prefabrication and reduced disruption.

This credit aims to focus development on previously used industrial or commercial sites with real or perceived environmental contamination.

As with urban sites, contaminated (brownfield) sites developments can benefit from the use of lightweight structures that require less ground work and large-scale prefabrication using steel components which can reduce disturbance of the polluted ground. In some cases this can lead to more cost-effective remediation solutions to deal with the contamination.

This credit includes 1 point for the use of roof surfaces that are EnergyStar compliant, with a high reflectance and emissivity to reduce cooling loads.

Steel roofing and cladding materials are available that meet the EnergyStar labeled requirement with reflectance greater than 0.65 and emissivity greater than 0.9. See:


Your AGWAY representative can advise as to which available colours can meet the above mentioned criteria.

Energy and Atmosphere (EA)

This category encompasses a number of strategies to help reduce energy use and exploit renewable energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Other measures aim to protect the ozone layer.

3 prerequisites and 35 points are available.

This credit offers up to 7 points for technologies that generate on-site renewable energy for 1-13% of the building’s total energy use.

Steel Cladding is becoming increasingly available with photo-voltaic cells integrated into their surface which can generate on-site electricity. These can be used to gain points under this credit.

Note:  Not all of the products that earn credits within the EA category are available from AGWAY at the present time. Please contact your AGWAY representative to determine the products available that relate to this category.

Material and Resources (MR)

This section focuses on building and component reuse, waste management and use of recycled, certified and local or regional materials. This section includes complex rules about definitions and measurement methods which affect steel recycling percentages.

One prerequisite and 14 points are available.

This credit aims to address the huge volume of construction waste generated. One or two points are available for diverting 50% or 75% of the weight of construction, demolition and land clearing debris from landfill disposal.

Steel is a valuable material and is generally either recycled or reused when occurring as part of construction or demolition waste. Thus, any steel generated from demolition can be readily sent for recycling or reuse, thus generating significant benefit for this credit. In addition, the use of steel components on-site generates very little waste, as the components are generally manufactured to tight tolerances in a factory and delivered to site for assembly. Any steel off-cuts that may arise are valuable and can be readily recycled. Thus, using steel structures and other steel components should contribute significantly to reducing site waste.

This credit aims to increase demand for building materials such as steel that incorporate recycled content. The credit differentiates between post-consumer waste and post-industrial waste. One point is available if the sum of the post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the post-industrial recycled content constitutes at least 10% of the total value of the material for the project (see Table 3). A second point is available if these proportions are doubled.

Total recycled content for steel building products manufactured in Canada

Steel structures and components can contribute significantly to achieving this LEED credit. One of the greatest environmental advantages of steel is its recycled content. Steel can be recycled an infinite number of times without loss in quality. Thus, a piece of steel can be a can, then a car and then a beam in a building, and be continually recycled. There is no contamination or deterioration of steel construction products made of recycled content, and steel processes provide a reliable recycled product that is truly recyclable. The infrastructure for steel recycling is well established, and its magnetic qualities make it easily extracted from the waste stream.

In nature, waste is food, and in steel production, recovered steel is “food” for new production. Steel is produced through one of two methods: The Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) which typically uses about 25% scrap steel, and the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) which uses greater than 95% scrap steel.

In Canada, both processes are used for sheet steel building products such as roofing, cladding, steel studs, decking and floor joists. LEED certification requires documentation from the steel suppliers verifying the recycled content and manufacturing process. The information can be obtained from your AGWAY representative. The value of a steel frame in a building may in some cases itself be sufficient to account for the required value of materials to achieve this credit.

This credit is intended to increase demand for locally manufactured materials thereby reducing the environmental impacts of transportation and supporting the local economy. To achieve 1 point, 20% of materials (measured by value) must be extracted, processed and manufactured within 800km of the site, or if rail or water transport is primarily used this distance is extended to 2,400km. For a second point, 30% of materials must meet this requirement. Most scrap used in Canada is from local sources located close to the steelmaking operations.

Regional Priority (RP)

The intent of this credit is to minimize materials use and construction waste over a building’s life resulting from premature failure of the building and its components and assemblies.

In order to acquire this point, a Building Durability Plan must be developed and implemented according to the standard CSA S478-95 – Guideline on Durability in Buildings. As steel is a durable product with a long life-cycle, it can be incorporated into any building project to achieve the necessary requirements of any Building Durability Plan.

  1. LEED Reference Guide, Version 2.0, June 2001, USGBC, page 2.
  2. Fisk, W, Health and productivity gains from better indoor environments and their relationship with building energy efficiency, Annual Review of Energy and Environment 2000, 25, pages 537-566
  3. Barnard, N. Making the most of thermal mass, Architects Journal, 21 October 1999 Barnard, Nick et al, Modeling the performance of thermal mass, BRE Information Paper IP6/01, Building Research Establishment, UK


  1. LEED Regional Credit Calculations
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