Read a great article recently about engineered fibers. When I first picked it up, I thought it was about a new type of engineered lumber, but I was very wrong. Engineered fiber is a new material that is being used to prevent you from getting cut. Read more about it at Modern Contractor Solutions. (Here’s a link the the PDF)
It depends on the application. Here’s a new product I’ve come to like because it’s practical, easy to use and takes a task that might usually require three people and a crane, but now allows me to accomplish by myself.
LiteSteelbeam (http://www.litesteelbeam.com/) is a structural steel beam (basement beams, garage beams, headers, ridge beams) that can be used like wood, but comes in at a much more manageable weight. It has the same attributes as regular weight-bearing beams: rigid, strong, structurally solid, but weight makes the difference. You can drive fasteners into it and you can cut it with a circular saw.
Compare it the traditional hot-rolled steel beams and engineered wood you’ve been using for years. It’s worth a look for the contractor or remodeler who ends up working independently a lot of the time. And it’s made in Virginia by LiteSteel Technologies, so you’re also buying American.