MOS Sustainability Graphic


In this installment of our Minds of Steel Q&A series, professor Terri Meyer Boake, engineer Ahmad Rahimian, and architect Jason Smith describe how more than ever, sustainability is helping advance the built world.

Making building designs and operations more sustainable has become increasingly important to owners, employees, designers, and more. Not only are there benefits to the environment and to the people using the space, but there are financial benefits as well. Investors are flocking to sustainable assets, and there’s evidence that owners can command higher rents for sustainable buildings. In 2020, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds invested about $300 billion in sustainable assets around the world, nearly double the figure from 2019, according to asset manager BlackRock. And sustainable buildings have been linked to higher rents and higher-quality tenants.

What does sustainability mean for engineers and architects, and how is it influencing design and construction? Below, structural engineer Ahmad Rahimian, professor Terri Meyer Boake, and architect Jason Smith—all Nucor Minds of Steel members—answer questions about sustainability’s increasingly vital role in building design and development.

  1. How important is sustainability to building developers or owners now?

  2. What are some innovative ways you’ve seen to make buildings more sustainable?

  3. What are some building materials that best meet sustainability demands and why?

  4. What are some of the challenges related to sustainable design?

  5. What does the future of sustainability look like?

Closing the loop on carbon

Nucor, a leader in sustainability, is challenging the industry to get practical in closing the loop on carbon. By reducing, capturing, and recycling GHG at every point in our value chain, Nucor is working toward closed-loop steel production with zero net emissions:

  • We already produce steel with 75% less GHG intensity than today’s global average.
  • We are committed to reducing it by an additional 35% by 2030.
  • Nucor’s steel products are made from an average of 75.4% recycled content.
  • Some of our products contain almost 100% recycled content.
  • In 2021, Nucor introduced Econiq™, the world’s first net-zero steel at scale.

About the series

Nucor is featuring its Minds of Steel in a series of Q&A articles about important topics impacting architecture, engineering, and construction. In this installment, our Minds of Steel discuss why sustainability is such a critical topic and how innovations in the field are helping advance the built world.

About Minds of Steel

In 2021, Nucor launched Minds of Steel to recognize some of the most innovative minds in engineering and architecture. These individuals are using steel to transform tomorrow’s increasingly challenging builds into reality.

Terri Meyer Boak

Terri Meyer Boake

Terri Meyer Boake, B.E.S., B. Arch., M. Arch., LEED AP, is a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo in Canada and an expert on architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS). Since 1986, Terri has taught building construction, environmental design, design studio, and architecture and film. She authored several books on steel design that include hundreds of her construction photographs with a goal of presenting buildings with a construction eye. A past president of the Society of Building Science Educators, Terri serves as a board member for The Skyscraper Center. Learn more about Terri

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Jason Smith, AIA, is a design principal and architect with SmithGroup in Chicago. Jason advocates a holistic, inclusive approach in his work, collaborating with engineers, architects, contractors, tradespeople, and manufacturers. That interdisciplinary approach is seen in SmithGroup’s design of the Center for Advanced Care in Chicago, featuring a physical space that is warm, open, and inviting for hospital patients and staff. Learn more about Jason

Ahmad Rahimian

Ahmad Rahimian

Ahmad Rahimian, Ph.D., PE, SE, F.ASCE, is executive vice president and USA director of building structures at WSP USA. In Ahmad’s more than 30 years of experience with the firm, he’s engineered noteworthy projects worldwide, ranging from high-rise commercial and residential towers to sports facilities. His work includes One World Trade Center, One57 at 157 West 57th Street, and the retractable roof over the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Learn more about Ahmad

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