Steel Market Development Institute Comments on Tall Wood Structures

staff_kavanaghTall Wood Structures are gaining some traction in the marketplace and represent a threat to steel.  We must continue to always advance the capability of our material, but we should also challenge and validate competing materials’ performance, especially as regards sustainability.

For example, wood is commonly a “use-once” material–at the end of the useful life of a wood house, the wood is typically landfilled or left to burn or rot, both of which return any CO2 stored in the wood to the atmosphere…and there are also questions surrounding the accounting for CO2 in wood products from planting through harvesting.

In comparison, steel is the world’s most recycled material with steel construction products having a recycling rate of more than 90 percent, meaning that after a steel building’s 100-year or greater life, 90 percent of the building’s steel is reused as another steel product. The idea that a material almost never goes to waste and is reused for many generations is the very definition of sustainability and is why we believe steel – not wood – should be the material of choice for construction of tall structures.

SMDI, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new growth opportunities in emerging steel markets. For more news or information, visit or follow us on twitter at

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