“Buy American” or no “Buy American” clause, fabricating new steel is not the sustainable approach we should take when we build our new buildings and infrastructure. Stimulus package or no stimulus package, the embodied energy it takes to recycle and re-fabricate steel for buildings is staggering.
This 60 Minutes segment is great in its entirety (and touches on great points regarding free trade and how the clause will affect the American economy), but I wanted to key in on minutes 2:20-3:37. http://www.tv.com/video/Yb4r3ifCJsCU2G5hOGw3HJhWqH_u8dGD/101/22529/buy-american?o=cbs&category=episode_clip&tag=showspace;video;3
The video shows the amount of energy that is necessary to create new steel from scrap steel. Recycling is often times seen as great for the environment and “saving the world”. Seeing this process (and the “fireworks” needed to create new steel) is amazing and may change your mind! Comments like “jolt from electrodes…you will see fireworks in a minute…” are heard through the footage showing the massive amount of energy injected into the process to create the steel.
Reuse (no, not recycling) of structural steel is the best way to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and is a way to create green color jobs doing deconstruction in lieu of demolition to allow steel to be reused.
Other blogs are doing a great job of noting the salary of the CEO and other great issues business classes will study for years to come. I believe it is equally, if not more important, to think about the sustainable ideals we should follow as we construct buildings for generations to come, regardless of what country we live in.
Another steel vid showing the amount of energy it takes to refabricate it.