The Steel Tube Institute reveals EMT beats MC cable in 10-year cost comparison

The steel experts identified that electrical metallic tubing (EMT) offers more than $33K in savings in a building life cycle scenario

April 21, 2020 — Glenview, IL — The Steel Tube Institute Conduit Committee, a committee comprised of the leading producers of steel conduit in the United States and Canada, today revealed a 10-year cost comparison of a commercial building wired with electric metallic tubing (EMT) versus MC cable, including common challenges building owners face.

Commercial building electrical requirements change over time, as these buildings often undergo renovations and upgrades to accommodate business needs and new tenants. With the rising trend of multi-use buildings, building owners must consider a building’s full life cycle and make key decisions upfront to truly future-proof a building. Electrical wiring is an important aspect to consider, as the choice has implications that extend beyond the initial installation costs. This new cost comparison illustrates how quickly electrical changes can add up.

For its cost analysis, the Conduit Committee considered a hypothetical three-story multi-purpose commercial building. The first floor contained retail space, while the second and third floors were designed for office space. Contractors often choose MC cable to wire this type of building, based on lower upfront installation costs. While the upfront cost of installing steel conduit is higher on average compared to MC cable, one must consider that it is notably more cost-effective to change or add new circuits in conduit. The comparison details three scenarios that require a change in power requirements — scenarios that are reasonable and quite common for multi-use building owners to encounter within 10 years of ownership. By year 10, the overall cost savings when EMT was the raceway installed totaled $33,693.

“Our members partnered with third-party experts to consider all the materials, labor and business downtime costs in our 10-year electrical raceway comparison,” said Steel Tube Institute Director of Steel Conduit Dale Crawford. “In each scenario, conduit proved to be the most cost-effective wiring method to keep facilities code-compliant and prepared for future changes.”

To access the detailed 10-year comparison, please visit steeltubeinstitute.org/steel-conduit/why-steel-conduit/advantages-3

About The Steel Tube Institute

The Steel Tube Institute was formed in 1930 when a group of manufacturers joined forces to promote and market steel tubing. Their goal was to mount a cooperative effort that would improve manufacturing techniques and inform customers about their products’ utility, versatility and competitive advantages. This, along with providing a forum for the discussion of issues impacting the industry, remains the focus of the Institute’s efforts. Learn more at steeltubeinstitute.org

The Steel Tube Institute’s Conduit Committee includes the majority of the leading producers of steel conduit in the United States and Canada. The group provides technical and design assistance for the industry, and promotes the features, benefits and uses of steel conduit. Learn more at steeltubeinstitute.org/steel-conduit


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