As solar roofing continues to experience incredible growth in the residential and commercial markets, choosing the best material for installation has become increasingly part of the equation. Metal roofing has proven to be ideal, not only for its strength and durability, but also for several other economic and environmental considerations.
Longer Lasting, Less Maintenance
Metal roofing is one of the few roof types a service life that exceeds the service life of solar panels. The estimated life span of solar panels is approximately 20 to 25 years, while metal roofing can last for 50 years or more. It is also the most sustainable roofing type, with two to three times the average life span of other roofing materials.
Standing seam metal roofing allows for the use of the solar panels’ simple clamp systems on the seams. In this zero-penetration installation system there is a significantly reduced possibility of leaks or other roofing failures. This system also has potential lower installation costs.
More Energy Efficient
Solar energy is a strong option for both businesses and homeowners to substantially reduce energy costs year in and year out. With the cost of solar becoming significantly more affordable over the last decade, as well as federal and local incentives to invest in solar, return on investment improves every year. Metal roofing helps keep rooftop temperatures cool, which allows better performance from solar panels.
Metal roofing is sustainable, creates less waste and requires little maintenance. Plus, metal roofing, unlike many other roofing systems, is 100% recyclable at the end of its life cycle.
More Aesthetic Possibilities
The curb appeal of metal roofing is another significant reason why building owners are embracing it. Standing seam roofing has an impressive array of metal types and color options, to create unique, eye-catching buildings.
Together, solar panels and metal roofing provide owners and the environment a fantastic ROI. Along with all the above benefits, users enjoy more energy independence and potentially lower utility expenses.
The market for metal products in the U.S. grew 4% annually over the past five years, according to an industry study released by the Metal Construction Association (MCA). This growth is significant because it occurred from 2009 through 2014, during the economic downturn when construction volumes declined and building owners and specifiers were particularly cost conscious.
The market for metal roofing was even greater. Growth was seen in both the residential and commercial sectors. In the residential market, use of metal roofing grew 7.1% in new construction and 4.1% in replacement roofing. In the commercial sector, metal roofing grew 9.7% in the five-year period. The industry also saw an 8.7% growth in metal wall panels in commercial building during this same time period.
MCA credits much of this growth to the metal industry’s efforts to educate the design community about the long-term value of metal roof and wall products. Key benefits of metal products over competitive materials include: energy efficiency and performance, LEED certification/green building, aesthetic appeal, life cycle cost, durability, and speed of construction.
MCA joined together with five partner associations beginning in 2009 to compile the data for this Industry Study. The purpose was to create a custom market model using standard measures in order to track industry growth over time. Study participants included data from the key associations: The American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI), the Aluminum Association (AA), Metal Roofing Alliance, National Frame Builders Association (NFBA) and the National Coil Coaters Association (NCCA).
HIGH TECH ROOFING BRINGS ENERGY EFFICIENCY TO DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Retrofit metal roofing helps heat and cool buildings, produces electricity for the grid, and harvests rainwater. The nation’s largest energy user, the Department of Defense (DoD), is learning how to transform some of its 577,500 buildings and structures into state-of-art energy-saving powerhouses, by retrofitting old buildings with new high-tech roofing systems. In partnership with the Metal Construction Association (MCA) and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the DoD is host to a demonstration project for reducing a building’s carbon footprint and lowering demand for energy and water. The demonstration project was part of the DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and DevelopmentProgram (ESTCP) at Goodfellow Air Force Base (GAFB) in San Angelo, Texas. The model will be replicated at potentially thousands of DoD buildings throughout the country.
The dynamic roofing system was installed at the Security Forces Building at GAFB and performs many functions, using a combination of technologies that heat and cool air and water, produce electricity, and collect rainwater. The metal roof retrofit system can be installed over an existing roof, saving installation costs and keeping old roofing material out of landfills. What makes this roofing system unique is that it brings together multiple functions in one holistically designed, integrated building envelope system that can be used on flat or sloped roof designs. The technology used is a hybrid of metal roofing, insulation, hydronic solar thermal systems, engineered air pathways, and photovoltaic (PV) cells, all designed to work symbiotically. This high performance system includes a retrofitted metal roof installed over the existing roof, which creates a cavity between the existing and new roofs. Within that cavity insulation, solar thermal heating systems and cooling of air and water for the building can be installed. More specifically, the technologies incorporated into the metal roof system are: 1) Cool metal roofing: high solar reflectance coatings on metal save up to 25% in summer cooling energy costs and helps mitigate the heat island effect in urban areas. 2) Solar thermal water heating: sun is used to preheat water for use inside the building, reducing the use of fossil fuels or electricity for hot water heaters. The heated water can also be used for space heating using a heat exchanger. 3) Rainwater harvesting: this subsystem harvests, manages and reuses rainwater for non-potable applications such as watering landscaping or flushing toilets. 4) Solar electric (PV) panels: thin film solar panels laminated on the roof provide energy for the building and even allow electricity to be sold to the grid. With the roofing system installation at GAFB, the Department of Defense and the Metal Construction Association are demonstrating how integrating energy efficiency and solar technologies with a retrofit metal roofing system can reduce energy and water consumption, mitigate the building’s environmental impact, and lower construction and operating costs.