In a Green World, Distinguishing New Metal Roofs from Old is Hard

St. Catherine’s Church, in Reutlingen, Germany

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

We may know the start of 2014 down to the exact second, but the lines between old and new metal design and building materials will continue to blur well into the New Year and beyond. Here are two examples of how metal manufacturers are helping to redefine the true age of metal roofs in a green world.

First, let’s look to Europe where 100-year-old zinc roofs are commonplace, and in particular, at the recently renovated 120-year-old zinc roof on St. Catherine’s Church in Reutlingen, Germany. This roof restoration called for dismantling and removing all the zinc tiles from the roof in order to inspect, clean, and salvage as many as possible. Tiles that were too damaged for reuse were recycled, but inspectors found  the tiles that were not exposed to the main west-facing wind and weather were nearly all reusable. The remaining roof was re-clad with RHEINZINK  0.7mm square tiles, using 1,500 PrePATINA blue-grey 330mm x 330mm tiles.

Located at the old cemetery, the Gothic Revival-style church is now preserved to its original state, circa 1890. RHEINZINK says that with the service life of zinc products expected to last 80–100 years for roofs and 200–300 years for walls, the roof tiles will be around for New Year celebrations for generations.

“When our client said ‘give me a roof that I will never have to replace,’ we thought metal immediately,” said Nathan Kipnis, AIA.

Stateside, a new LEED Platinum home in Glencoe, IL, features an unusual look for a LEED home—traditional rather than modernist design, allowing the home to complement its neighborhood. The standing seam metal roof was a key element of the sustainable design. About 600 sq ft of 24-gauge PAC-CLAD  material from Petersen Aluminum, Elk Grove Village, IL was used. The Silver Metallic Kynar 500 coating offers high reflectivity and SRI (solar reflectance index) ratings and is Energy Star approved.

Private Residence, Glencoe, IL

The roof provides many green features. Its shape is asymmetrically arranged to collect as much storm water as possible. It is also sloped at two different angles—a summer and a winter angle. The steeper, south facing roof supports solar thermal panels, which are optimal for the low winter sun. The shallower south facing section of the roof includes solar PV panels, which maximize electrical production during hot summer days.

“When our client said ‘give me a roof that I will never have to replace,’ we thought metal immediately,” said Nathan Kipnis, AIA, principal of Kipnis Architecture and Planning, Evanston, IL. Meanwhile, general contractor, Scott Simpson, president of Scott Simpson Builders in Northbrook, IL, says that, beyond this project, he recently used an old metal barn roof on the interior walls of a renovated—and much beloved—bakery in Evanston.

One thought on “In a Green World, Distinguishing New Metal Roofs from Old is Hard

  1. I love how metal roofing is able to mix both sustainability and durability into one cost-effective option. This blog makes you think past the utilitarian virtues of metal roofing and consider some of the aesthetic benefits. Its exciting to see that metal roofing is becoming a popular choice for retrofitted roofing.

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