Rhino Steel Buildings Blog

10 Reasons Designers Choose Steel Buildings

The Architectural Advantages of Steel Construction

Today designers choose steel buildings for their low-rise, non-residential projects. Steel framing frees designers to create beautiful, practical structures within the project parameters.

10 Reasons Designers Choose SteelSteel building leads the U.S. market today. Steel frames 50% of all low-rise, non-residential construction. Low-rise commercial designers choose steel framing for 71% of all projects. Steel accounts for 95% of all industrial construction in the U.S. The agricultural market overwhelmingly builds with steel.

There are many reasons for steel’s market dominance. The following list covers ten advantages pre-engineered steel building systems offer specifically to architects and designers.

1. It is easier to design a building with steel.

Innovative software developed by the steel building industry permits design, analysis, and detailing to flow easily. With sophisticated 3-D modeling software, designers view steel plans from every angle.

Once a floor plan is created and approved, ordering a pre-engineered steel building is simple. The steel company engineers the structure to meet all local building codes, fabricates the steel, and ships the completed framing package to the job site.

Steel Building Uses Infographic2. Steel framing provides complete design freedom.

Whether the project calls for a no-frills basic box or a sophisticated, eye-popping structural masterpiece, structural steel is the answer. No other building material provides the span, strength, and design flexibility of steel. Whatever can be imagined can be created with steel.

3. Steel construction creates more with less.

Pre-engineered steel buildings produce a highly stable structure with surprisingly little material. Steel columns occupy 75% … Read more »

Barndominiums: Home, STEEL Home

Building Homes with the Strength of Steel

Today many rural landowners choose pre-engineered metal buildings to build “barndominiums.” The barndominium trend began in Texas, but spread like a prairie fire. These attractive, sturdy, highly customized steel homes are now springing up all across the heartland.

Long familiar with the positive attributes of metal buildings, rural people easily make the transition to steel buildings as homes.

Steel BarndominiumThe term barndominium covers a huge range of residential styles, from a small weekend cabin to a modern and sophisticated country estate.

Ever practical rural dwellers often build barndominiums to serve multiple purposes.

For example, one portion of the structure encloses living quarters, while the remaining square footage houses a shop. Others choose to combine office space and home into one divided structure. Barndominiums may be partitioned into a home with an attached garage or storage area. Rural pilots even combine hangar and home in one convenient structure.

Clear span steel framing makes any combination of building and home possible.

However, not everyone chooses to combine space in their barndominium. Most people use the entire structure as a home.

Why Build Homes with Steel?

Why would anyone want to build a home with a steel building system? For the same reasons farmers and ranchers overwhelmingly choose metal buildings for their barns, stables, and other agricultural structures. Prefabricated steel buildings provide benefits not possible with other building materials.

Steel framed barndominiums are:

  • FAMILIAR: Many rural residents have previous experience with metal buildings. They trust the structures and enjoy the advantages of steel building systems.
  • AFFORDABLE: Pre-engineered steel buildings are remarkably inexpensive to build, maintain, … Read more »

Building Green Churches with Steel

Stretching Natural Resources— and Church Resources— with Steel

Building green churches means choosing construction materials with the smallest environmental impact. Steel building is the environmental champion of green building methods.

Logical Steel Quote“Steel as the primary structural building material, with its inherent recyclable nature and its efficiency of assembly, is the logical and responsible choice for Green Building,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) sponsors a voluntary program certifying green building projects. Using a point system, LEED rates building projects at different levels of “green.” Based on its high-recycled content, steel earns an automatic minimum default score. Steel is the only building material in the LEED program so designated.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle with Steel

Environmentalists focus on conserving resources three ways: reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Churches Build Green InfoREDUCE: Choosing a pre-engineered steel building system for church projects reduces raw materials. Steel’s unmatched strength-to-weight ratio allows a stronger structure with far less building materials than other types of construction. For example, wood construction places vertical framing members 16 to 24 inches apart. In a pre-engineered steel system, vertical steel columns are typically spaced at 25-foot intervals.

Steel buildings last decades longer than other structures. Replacing the structure less often reduces the environmental impact.

REUSE: Taking an existing item and using it for another purpose stretches the usefulness of the product.

Steel buildings are so versatile, they are ideal for numerous purposes. If the future requires your church to move, selling your property becomes easier with steel buildings. The church building might house another religious facility. However, it may … Read more »

Why Churches are Building Green

Sustainability and Stewardship in Today’s Religious Building Projects

Today, many churches are building green, environmentally-friendly worship centers and auxiliary buildings. Churches are building green structures for the same reasons commercial and industrial builders— it simply makes sense.

Choosing building products with the smallest possible environmental impact is the primary goal of all green building, including religious facilities.

3 Reasons Churches are Going Green

Why Churches Building GreenThree main influences usually fan the flock’s interest in creating sustainable structures.

1. ENVIRONMENTAL-CONSCIOUS CONGREGATIONS: Many parishioners practice eco-friendly habits at home and at work. This is especially true of younger churchgoers. Motivated to make a difference, they support ways to recycle and reduce energy consumption both in principle and in practice. They expect no less dedication from their spiritual home.

2. STEWARDSHIP: Most church congregations view environmental responsibility as an extension of their stewardship of creation. They choose to use sustainable building materials wherever feasible, rather than wasting natural resources.

3. FINANCIAL REWARDS: Building green saves green. Structural systems which incorporate recycled materials, reduce waste, and shrink energy consumption also save money. Long-lasting materials stretch a building’s use— and often increase the value of the church property. Integrating energy-conserving features into religious facilities drops operating costs. Spending less on maintenance and operation means more money for outreach ministries.

3 Tips for Planning Church Buildings

Church building projects can be more complicated than other types of building projects, simply because of the number of people involved in the process.

Diverse expectations and tastes often collide. Finding a consensus sometimes takes the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, and the persistence of Nehemiah.

Following these guidelines will help prepare the church for pursuing a green building project.

1. THINK … Read more »

10 Landscaping Tips for Green Churches

How to Make Church Landscaping More Eco-Friendly

Energy efficiency extends beyond the front door in green churches. Strategic church landscaping reduces energy consumption and saves water.

Green Churches Sow Seeds that Reap Rewards

Beautiful landscaping makes a church seem more inviting. When properly planned, landscaping also helps cut energy bills for eco-friendly green churches.

Green Church LandscapingHere are some tips for making the most of the green spaces around your worship center:

1. USE NATIVE PLANTS. The trees, shrubberies, and flowers native to an area not only prove hardier, but also generally require less water and care than more exotic plants.

2. PLANT TREES. Mature trees planted close to buildings shade the structure, helping cut energy usage as much as 10% annually. In cities, trees also help mitigate the urban heat island effect in summer. Tree shaded areas are as much as 10°F cooler than paved areas.

Trees inhale carbon dioxide and pollutants, cleaning the surrounding air. One tree absorbs as much as 40 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Trees release life-sustaining oxygen, replenishing and refreshing the air.

Trees also create a buffer from traffic noise.

Tree covering increases the church’s property value, too.

3. CHOOSE DECIDUOUS TREES. Deciduous trees work best for green churches— especially in urban areas. Trees with thick foliage shade in summer. Bare in winter, deciduous trees let sunlight through to help warm buildings.

4. ADD GREEN ISLANDS. Break up vast, stark parking areas with small green “islands” of plants and trees. The result is more visually appealing— and … Read more »

15 Tips for a More Energy Efficient Church

Simple Ways to Cut Energy Expenses at Your Worship Facility

An energy efficient church stretches funds. Lower utility bills mean more money in the budget for doing what really matters: helping others.

There are several ways for worship facilities to reduce energy waste. Some of these ideas cost very little. Other cost-saving techniques require an initial investment— but reap great money-saving rewards.

Energy Waste in ChurchesStart small. Add more expensive energy-saving methods as time— and the church budget— permit.

Begin with an energy audit to evaluate your facility’s current energy expenditures.

Low Cost Energy Savers

1. SEAL THE ENVELOPE. Check to make sure all windows and doors seal tightly. A little caulking and weather-stripping go a long way to eliminate air leaks in the building envelope.

2. SEAL LEAKY DUCTS. Check air ducts for leaks. Seal where needed.

3. ADJUST THE THERMOSTAT. In winter, lower the thermostat when the building is unoccupied. In summer, raise the thermostat during vacancy. According to government experts, changing the thermostat by one degree for at least eight hours saves about one percent on the utility bill. Adjusting the thermostat by five degrees or ten degrees should save about five to ten percent. Programmable thermostats make controlling temperature easier.

4. CHANGE FILTERS. Replace air conditioning and heating unit filters monthly for maximum efficiency. Clogged filters reduce airflow, forcing the units to struggle and use more energy.

5. ADD CEILING FANS. Ceiling fans use only about 60 watts of electricity. Air conditioners devour 3,500 watts or more. Use ceiling fans only when the room is occupied. Set the fans to circulate air down in summer and up in winter.

6.Read more »

Managing Church Energy Costs

An Energy Audit: The First Step in Reducing Energy Waste in Your Church

Being excellent stewards of church funds includes wisely managing church energy costs.

Buildings— including religious facilities— account for 73% of all electricity used in the U.S. Experts believe buildings squander 30% to 50% of the energy consumed.

Auditing Church Energy CostsFrankly, such waste is sinful.

The Bible admonishes believers to “be diligent to know the state your flocks.” You cannot successfully manage your church energy costs until you know current usage. You need an energy audit.

Auditing Church Energy Costs the Easy Way

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) offers a free ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager® to measure and track energy and water consumption. This easy-to-use online tool even estimates a building’s greenhouse emissions.

Inputting current energy usage from the last year’s utility bills provides an eye-opening look at actual spending. It also creates a benchmark. As your congregation implements new ways to slash waste, the Portfolio Manager® tracks effectiveness.

Seeing measurable results also motivates.

Portfolio Manager® scores your church building against similar worship facilities nationwide. The structure compares facilities based on gross floor area. Evaluations are available for churches with seating from 25 to 4,000.

Specific data enables your congregation to make wiser decisions. Weighing initial building upgrade costs against potential energy savings becomes clearer with energy audit information.

Energy Efficiency Starts with the Structure

Are you planning a new worship center or support structure? Consider starting with an energy-efficient pre-engineered steel building design.

RHINO supplies strong, durable, energy-efficient steel churches and auxiliary buildings. The Pro-Value Insulation System typically slices energy usage in half. We also offer cost-cutting reflective cool roofing for additional energy savings.

Discuss your church building project … Read more »

Small Churches Reign in America

The Majority of Churchgoers Still Attend Small Local Churches

While new stories about swelling megachurches dominate the headlines, small churches actually dominate church attendance. Without fanfare or recognition, local community churches quietly and continually serve their congregations and communities.

The press seems fascinated by the huge numbers garnered by metropolitan megachurches. People are left with the impression that megachurches— those with 2,000 or more members— represent a shift in church attendance. Not so.

Small ChurchesThe Hartford Institute for Religion Research estimates there are 350,000 religious congregations in the U.S. Megachurches represent less than one-half percent of the total number of congregations. Approximately 59% of weekly worshipers attend congregations with less than 100 members.

Current data puts the average church membership at 184. The massive numbers of the megachurches skew those average church memberships.

Looking instead at the median church membership rather than average, presents a truer picture of church attendance today. Median numbers put typical church memberships at 75 to 90.

Why Small Churches Still Dominate

The reasons someone chooses a particular place of worship are myriad and intensely personal. However, there are some universal advantages to attending small churches.

CONVENIENCE: While not a particularly spiritual consideration, a convenient location draws people to the local church. Traffic hassles, gas prices, and parking problems sometimes discourage people from attending churches with a long commute.

SENSE of BELONGING: There is a reason regular worshipers refer to the congregation as their “church family.” Smaller churches provide a greater sense of belonging and community. It is easier to feel a part of smaller group, where everyone knows and supports each other. Many megachurches seek to overcome the feeling of being lost in the masses by forming small Bible study groups to support and encourage one another on a more personal … Read more »

#1 Reason Churches Choose Steel Buildings

Steel Church Buildings: Economical to Build, Economical to Operate

Why do so many churches choose steel buildings for their new construction projects?

Pre-engineered steel buildings provide many advantages to religious facilities. Steel framing offers clear span interiors, soaring ceiling heights, sturdy construction, versatility of design, and ease of future expansion.

Churches Built with SteelHowever, the number one reason churches so often decide to build with steel is ACCOUNTABILITY.

Church building committees must make the most of their contributions. Stewardship demands using church funds wisely. No congregation wants to sacrifice ministry effectiveness or community outreach projects to a burdensome building project. Affordability is paramount.

Economical Steel Church Buildings

Whether the building project is a new sanctuary, classrooms, a fellowship hall, a gymnasium, offices, or production facilities, steel buildings promise more for less. Depending on the simplicity or complexity of the design, steel church buildings may slash construction costs by 30% to 40%.

A new church building project will likely require the services of an architect. However, by choosing to build with a pre-engineered steel building system, your project will not need an engineer. The price of the steel building package includes structural engineering.

Good stewardship means considering not only building budget, but also the operating budget any church structure. Typically, a construction accounts for only 11% of the total building cost over the lifetime of a structure.

Steel buildings not only stretch today’s building budget, but also cost far less to operate than other types of buildings.

Steel framing produces deeper wall cavities than other building materials. Filling those cavities with quality insulation drastically reduces energy consumption. It is possible to cut heating and cooling bills by as much as 40% … Read more »

#1 Mistake When Buying a Metal Building

Know Exactly What You Want from Your New Steel Building

What is the first time buyer’s biggest mistake when buying a metal building? It is not completely thinking through what they want from their new structure.

Don’t decide you want a new building and immediately start looking for steel building quotes online. Your pre-engineered steel building company serves you best when you have a clear idea of what you need.

End Use

First, what is the purpose of the building?

• Will it be a garage for your cars and RV? • Will you want additional space to repair the vehicles or to use as workshop? • Will you need water and plumbing for a bathroom? • Do you wish to insulate the building?

1st Time Buyer DreamingThinking through the end use for your structure allows you to estimate how much space is required. Many people find they actually need 20% more space than originally guesstimated.


Pre-engineered steel buildings are measured from the outside of the steel framing. The building height is measured by the outside wall, called the eave height.

Look where you plan to erect the building. What dimensions would best fit the site and your space requirements? Would a 40’ wide x 60’ long steel building, or a 30’ x 80’ structure, or a square 50’ x 50’ best fit your site and your needs?

Is there a chance you might want to expand the building later? If so, does the site allow room for longer structure?

How tall is your dream building? For example, if you plan to house your RV, you will want plenty of clearance above your RV— and anything mounted on the RV roof like an air conditioner or antenna. Once you have chosen a door height, allow a minimum … Read more »

17 Reasons to Choose Steel Warehouses

Why Steel Dominates Distribution Center and Warehouse Building

Industrial builders overwhelming choose to build steel warehouses and distribution centers. Steel frames 95% of all new low-rise industrial construction. Steel’s market share of the mega warehouse and distribution center market soars even higher.

Warehouse MarketCovering 500,000 square feet or more, these sprawling building behemoths are impractical with any other structural material.

What makes steel the building material of choice for industry?  Here are 17 reasons steel leads the industrial building market:


1. ULTRA-WIDE: Pre-engineered steel buildings up to 480’ wide are possible with minimal support columns. Imagine a structure as wide as the length of one-and-a-half football fields!

2. UNLIMITED LENGTH: There is absolutely no limit to a steel building’s length. Design your structure as long as your budget— and property— permits.

3. TOWERING HEIGHTS: Pre-engineered steel building designs often reach 40’ or more at the eave height. (Buildings over 40’ tall require a custom quote.) Many warehousing operations maximize their usable space by building high ceilings and adding mezzanine floors.

4. EXTRA-WIDE OPENINGS: If your structure requires large openings, steel is definitely the only choice for framing. Steel’s amazing strength-to-weight ratio allows extremely wide openings, with or without doors. Overhead doors in a wide range of sizes and types are available. Hangar-style doors work best for doorways 45’ and wider.

Grey Warehouse5. CLEAR SPAN: Some warehouse and distribution center operations require clear span structures. A clear span building has no interior structural supporting columns. No other building material can match steel’s ability to span large areas. Pre-engineered steel buildings offer … Read more »

The Rise of the Mega Warehouses

What’s Driving the Growth of Gigantic Distribution Centers

Washington state not only boasts the world’s largest steel building, it is also home to the king of the mega warehouses— the Target Import Distribution Center.

The 2,000,000 square foot Target Import Distribution Center opened in April 2003 in Lacey, Washington. With a total volume of 262.4 million cubic feet, the Target structure is the second largest building in the world. Only the monstrous Boeing Aircraft Plant in Everett, Washington, tops it. The Boeing Plant remains the largest building on earth at a whopping 472 million cubic feet.

Mega WarehousingThe Target structure in Lacey is just one example of the rising need for gigantic warehouses across the U.S.

What’s behind the trend to giant warehouses

Significant changes in recent years are changing the way we move and sell goods:

  • America shifted from a primarily manufacturing economy to importing most manufactured goods from other countries. Hence, large warehouses near busy ports became an economic necessity.
  • Increasingly, Americans purchase e-commerce products rather than buying merchandise at local retail stores. The convenience of online shopping and home delivery appeals to busy consumers. Online giants like Amazon.com and Overstock.com require massive distribution centers scattered across the country for rapid order fulfillment. Consumer online purchasing now generates over $1.2 trillion annually across the globe.
  • Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Costco, Sam’s, Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, and Office Depot, and other big-box stores must keep countless products readily available— without becoming overstocked.
  • To be competitive, all the largest retailers now maintain both store locations and e-commerce sites. Most offer the option of store delivery or home delivery.
  • Climbing fuel prices drove companies to look for ways to centralize product distribution.
An overview of … Read more »

The World’s Largest Steel Building- Part 2

Fascinating Facts about the Most Fantastic Factory on Earth

The world’s largest steel building— the Boeing Aircraft Plant in Everett, WA— defies imagination. The “Guinness Book of World Records” proclaims it the largest building— by volume— on the planet.

Everett WA Plant 02While the construction history of the massive steel structure is fascinating, the day-to-day operations are equally impressive.

Fast Facts about the World’s Largest Steel Building

The size and scope of the sprawling Boeing Aircraft Plant boggle the mind:

  • The 2,800 workers who cleared the land and prepared the site for construction moved more earth than was excavated in building the Panama Canal— and Grand Coulee Dam— combined.
  • Each of the hangar doors is roughly the size of an American football field, measuring 87’ x 300’.
  • According to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the paintings on the six hangars doors create the largest digital mural in the world.
  • Today the 5.5 million square foot Boeing Everett Plant contains more than 472 million cubic feet of space.
  • The structure is 120’ tall.
  • The building covers 98.3 acres of space under one roof.
  • The monstrous structure could house all of Disneyland in California— and still have room for parking!
  • The colossal structure could hold 75 NFL football fields.
  • The structure is so massive, workers often take months to learn how to navigate in the building.
  • The perimeter walls of the structure measure 2.2 miles.
  • Pedestrian tunnels beneath the plant cover 2.3 miles.
  • Boeing supplies a fleet of 1,300 bicycles and adult-sized tricycles— plus numerous golf carts— for transportation within the building.
  • Over 2,100 average sized American homes could fit within the Boeing Everett Plant.
  • Washington’s moisture-laden air initially caused plant problems. When it was first completed, clouds formed under the roof. The humidity played havoc with aircraft production, so Boeing installed an air … Read more »

The World’s Largest Steel Building- Part 1

The Story Behind the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington

You would expect the world’s largest steel building to be a towering skyscraper in a bustling metropolis.

You would be wrong.

The title of the biggest building on Earth— by volume— belongs to the Boeing Aircraft Assembly Plant in Everett, WA. At an astonishing 472 million cubic feet, no other structure comes close to the size of the massive Everett Boeing Plant.

What Drove the Need for Such an Enormous Structure?

Everett WA FactroyLocated about 25 miles north of Seattle, WA, the Boeing factory saga began in the mid-1960s.

Pan-American ruled the international flight market. They needed larger planes with greater passenger capacity to make international flights more economical. Pan-Am promised Boeing a contract for 25 aircraft— if they could develop a jumbo jet.

Boeing accepted the challenge.

Over 50,000 aircraft administrators, designers, engineers, mechanics, and aerodynamics scientists participated in developing the first jumbo jet. The attempt generated over 75,000 engineering drawings.

While development for 747 was underway, Boeing began searching for the perfect location to build the wide-body jets.

The first problem was location. None of Boeing’s existing plants could accommodate construction of a jumbo aircraft. Boeing needed a new, larger factory.

After scouring the country for the perfect location, Boeing settled on Washington. In June 1966, the company purchased over 750 acres of forest on the northeast side of Paine Field in Everett.

Constructing the World’s Largest Steel Building

Boeing engaged an army of 250 contractors to prepare a 630-acre area for construction. The heavily wooded land pitched and rolled. The forest needed clearing. The topography needed flattening.

Over 2,800 workers hewed trees, blasted hills, and filled valleys preparing the site.

Workers built a five-mile-long railway spur to haul debris away and building materials in to the site. … Read more »

Pre-engineered Steel Buildings in WASHINGTON

Building Green in the Evergreen State with RHINO Metal Buildings

Constructing pre-engineered steel buildings in Washington is green building. There is no greener way to build than with steel.

The state of Washington has always been a leader in the green building movement. In fact, Washington was the first state to pass legislation requiring all state-funded new construction or renovation to meet green building standards.

metal-buildings-WASHINGTONThe Clear Span Advantages of Steel Buildings in Washington

The strength and durability of steel buildings makes them last far longer than ordinary construction methods like wood and concrete. The longer a structure lasts, the less its environmental impact.

As the most recycled material on the planet, steel meets the criteria for environmentally responsible Washington builders. There is zero degradation of strength in recycled steel— no matter how many times it is recycled. RHINO steel buildings contain up to 90.7% recycled steel.

Pre-engineering eliminates waste, another green building plus. What little steel remains after construction is easily sold to metal scrap dealers for recycling.

The inherent strength of steel allows prefabricated metal buildings to span wide areas without interior supports. RHINO straight column metal buildings in Washington clear span up to 80’ in width. Tapered column designs clear span up to 150’ wide on standard orders. Widths up to 300’ are possible with a custom order.

Here are just a few of the buildings benefiting from steel’s clear span capabilities:

• Aircraft hangars • Auditoriums • Barns • Big box stores • Churches • Dance studios • Equipment storage buildings • Fish or meat processing plants • Gymnasiums • Hay or hops storage • Horse riding arenas • Lumber or paper mills • Manufacturing plants • Produce storage • Recreational facilities • Theaters • Warehouses

Metal Buildings for Every Application

Versatile pre-engineered steel buildings adapt to any low-rise commercial or industrial application:

  • Consider RHINO metal buildings for mega-warehouses in Seattle or Tacoma.
  • Agricultural buildings for … Read more »