GBA Member Spotlight: David Landis, EPIC Metals


David Landis, President, Epic Metals Photo © Epic Metals

Sustainability for EPIC Metals began right from the very beginning.  Fifty-three years ago in 1968, Donald Landis, Founder of EPIC Metals and father of current President David Landis, purchased a trolley barn in Rankin (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania that was built in 1900 and recycled it into EPIC’s first manufacturing facility.

EPIC’s modern sustainability efforts began years later in 2010, when a new Landis generation, David’s son, Ben, spent a high school summer break on a project to add solar panels to their current home office in Braddock Pennsylvania.

David’s interest in solar energy, his passion for sustainability, and an ardent commitment to the climate crisis has continued to drive EPIC Metals’ commitment to sustainability.   Solar panels now installed at three manufacturing plants in addition to the home office – which now also includes a solar parking canopy – have generated enough electricity to drive a car around the circumference of the earth 169 times.  That is a distance of 4,208,269 miles!

Photo © Epic Metals

Through November 2020, solar panel installations at EPIC’s various manufacturing plants and home office have generated a combined total of 1,921,108 kWh of electricity.  This has created an estimated reduction of 2,035,940 pounds of CO2, and is the equivalent of planting 26,107 trees.

When EPIC Metals began dabbling their feet in solar energy in 2010, they generated 271 kWh of electricity.  In 2019, they generated 519,196 kWh.

David is greatly inspired by a powerful passage from a favorite book that sits close to his office desk, “The Great Transition” by Lester R. Brown, which states “The sunlight striking the earth’s surface in just one hour delivers enough energy to power the world economy for one year.”

 Isn’t it so powerful to know the sun is creating the energy that grows all the plants and the food we eat?” asks Landis.  “If we had enough solar panels to harness this energy, it could create ALL the power we use for driving our cars and lighting our buildings.  We could do everything!”

Photo © Epic Metals

EPIC’s commitment to sustainability is not limited to solar energy.  Three vertical axis Windstax wind turbines at 15kW provide lighting for EPIC’s manufacturing facility along the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh, PA.  Electric vehicle charging stations have been installed at EPIC’s main office and Rankin plant.  Through November 2020, these seven stations have displaced the use of 6,322 gallons of gasoline estimated to reduce 122,637 pounds of CO2 – the equivalent of planting 1,572 trees.  Pervious pavers, one of the most environmentally friendly paving solutions, were installed in one of their parking lots to reduce storm water runoff, reduce the use of salt to defrost ice and snow, and naturally brighten and reflect more light, increasing nighttime visibility.  EPIC heats the majority of their home office building with geo-thermal wells.

Beyond all of these amazing efforts in their facilities, EPIC Metals, through the art and science of structural deck engineering, enables designers to create unique visually open spaces with responsible materials and unmatched acoustics.  EPIC Metals roof and floor deck ceiling panels are manufactured of steel, which historically has been one of the most recycled materials.  The Steel Recycling Institute reports that the steel industry’s overall recycling rate is 88 percent.  The recycling of steel reduces the environmental damage of mining virgin ore and the additional resources necessary to process it into steel.  It is estimated by the Steel Recycling Institute that in one year, steel recycling in the U.S. saves the energy equivalent to electrically power approximately 18 million homes Additionally, EPIC reinforces their steel ceiling panels for tubular skylights and to support the weight of a green roof.

Photo © Epic Metals

EPIC Metals has been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) since 2004 and a member of Green Building Alliance since 2010.   EPIC Metals has participated in 338 LEED certified projects in 40 states.  Twenty-seven of these projects are LEED Platinum and 149 LEED Gold.  These projects include Bill and Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University, Penn State University, and the Warrior Recreation Center of the University of Hawaii.

Photo © Epic Metals

Through many challenges during his tenure at EPIC, most notably the economic downturn during the great recession beginning in 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21, David Landis is proud of EPIC Metals’ commitment to success and commitment to sustainability.  Though he wishes for the pandemic to be over, Landis also believes the global warming crisis is much more significant than the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the improvements that have been made in medicine, we could soon be through this current pandemic,” states Landis.  “Unfortunately,” he continues, “there is no inoculation for the global climate crises.  No vaccine.  Every year we don’t address the crisis it becomes that much more difficult to turn around.  I wish for solutions to the climate crisis so I can one day see my grandchildren enjoy the success of the world and live a somewhat normal life.”

Thank you for your commitments for all of our children and grandchildren, David and EPIC Metals. It is an honor to have you as a member of Green Building Alliance.

EPIC Metals Local Regional Projects include:

  •  Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Carrick Branch – Pittsburgh, PA

    Photo © Epic Metals

  • Humane Animal Rescue Building – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Byham Center for Dance – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Sewickley Academy – Sewickley, PA
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods HQ – Moon Township, PA
  • National Aviary – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History – Dinosaur Hall – Pittsburgh, PA

School Projects:

  • 200+ K-12 School Projects in US
  • 150+ College and University Projects in US

EPIC Metals Awards:

  • 2019 AIA/ALA Library Building Award – Half Moon Bay Library – San Mateo California
  • Epic was involved in nine projects that were recognized in the AIA COTE TOP TEN Projects:
  • 2020 – US Customs & Border Protection, Columbus New Mexico Port of Entry, Columbus, New Mexico
  • 2018 – San Francisco Art Institute, Fort Mason Center – San Francisco, CA
  • 2018 – Sonoma Academy, Janet Durgin Guild & Commons, Santa Rosa, CA
  • 2016 – University of Wyoming, Visual Arts Building, Laramie, Wyoming
  • 2013 – Marin County Day School, Corte Madera, CA
  • 2012 – Iowa Utilities Board, Office of Consumer Advocate Building, Des Moines, IA
  • 2011 – Greensburg Schools/Kiowa County Schools, Greensburg, KS
  • 2007 – Stanford University, Global Ecology Research Center, Palo Alto, CA
  • 2001 – PNC Bank Firstside Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • EPIC Metals is honored to be the oldest current member and one of the smallest members of the Steel Deck Institute

Magazine Covers:

Photo © Epic Metals

  •  Smithsonian
  • Architectural Record
  • Building Design & Construction
  • DCD
  • Eco-Structure
  • School Planning & Management
  • School & University
  • Civil Engineering
  • Structural Engineer

Commitment to Sustainability:

  •  Recycled Steel Content 25 – 61%
  • Recycled content in acoustic element – 30%
  • 97% HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) & VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) eliminated by factory prime painting process

Materials & Resources:

  • EPIC Metals products possess an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) in conformance with ISO 14025, ISO 14040, ISO 14044, and ISO 21930 standards. EPIC Metals sources raw materials in proximity to its manufacturing facilities whenever possible to minimize transportation related environmental impacts.  The EPD is cradle-to-gate in scope, but metal decking panels are 100% recyclable at a building’s end of life.
    • Credit: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations
  • EPIC Metals products can be documented with a Manufacturer Inventory to at least 100 ppm. These products can be produced with a Living Building Challenge Red List Free option.  Declare Label documentation is available on EPIC Metals acoustic elements.
    • Credit: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients

Ratings – Steel Roof and Floor Deck:

  •  LBC Red List Free
    • Life Expectancy – 100 years
    • End of Life Options – 100% Recyclable
  • UL Certified Environment Product
    • This product contributes to:
      • ASHRAE 189.1
      • International Green Construction Code
      • LEED v4 – Building Design & Construction
        • MR Credit 2: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations – Option 1 or 2
      • LEED v4 – Interior Design & Construction
        • MR Credit 3: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations – Option 1 or 2
      • NAHB Green Building Standard (ICC 700)
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