Category Archives: Environmental Footprint

Explore Metal Roofing’s Many Green Benefits

Sykes Chapel uses metal for roofAlthough metal roofing is now considered a building product of choice among a vast legion of green-minded customers, sometimes we need to be reminded of its many ecological benefits. A recent Metal Construction Association technical bulletin provides a quick but very thorough rundown of metal roofing benefits, including that metal roofing:

• Can virtually eliminate the need to use future raw materials to produce roofing.
• Is unaffected by hot-cold or wet-dry weather cycles that break down other materials.
• Has recycled content ranging from 25% to 95%.
• Is fully recyclable if it is removed, perhaps as part of a building renovation.
• Is low weight compared to other roofing materials, which helps extend the life of buildings, among other benefits.
• Does not pose a health risk.
• Is increasingly regarded for its energy efficiency.

Read more about metal roof systems’ sustainability, recycled content, recyclability, low weight, product safety, and energy efficiency in the technical brief.

Green Building Pioneer: Use Commonsense Roofing Design

The greenest house in AmericaIn a recent presentation at METALCON in Chicago, IL, Peter Pfeiffer, FAIA, principal, Barley & Pfeiffer Architects, Austin, TX, discussed some commonsense ideas for building and living green. Pfeiffer, a pioneer in green building who owns “the greenest house in America,” stressed the cost-effectiveness of conserving energy in simple ways, such as adjusting your sprinkler system, placing your electrical panel on an interior (instead of an exterior) wall, and having your roof act as a shading umbrella.

Green Roofing System
“A roof should act as a shading umbrella,” Pfeiffer said. “R-value means little if the house leaks, the windows are unshaded, or the roof is a dark color.”

“Don’t underestimate the value of discussing the obvious,” said Pfeiffer. “R-value means little if the house leaks, windows are unshaded, or the roof is a dark color. This is obvious stuff.” He added that sensible green building is “smarter and better” because it results in “reduced consumption of stuff,” such as energy, water, and nonrenewable materials. This type of building also improves health and indoor air quality.

Pfeiffer stressed that producing your own power is expensive. “Shading windows is better than adding [high-maintenance] solar roof panels. Light-colored metal roofs with broad overhangs that shade windows save money and are easier to maintain.”

How do you accomplish green building? Pfeiffer stated, “Keep it simple and rely on smart, thoughtful, climate-sensitive design.” He said that gizmos and complex things break, and are expensive and time-consuming to fix. Instead, make practical changes to your house, such as using Energy Star dishwashers, low-flow showerheads, and less hot water (instead of buying a fancy water heater). Also, don’t use dark roofs in the South.

Pfeiffer is a proponent of cool metal roofing/ASV ventilation. Unlike conventional roofing insulation, ventilation makes the roof last longer because it doesn’t lock in moisture. A Galvalume metal roof with an airspace underneath keeps heat in the house, he said, and a metal roof costs more than shingles, but it provides long-term cost savings on energy and insurance.

Solar radiation is a “big, powerful thing—and it’s uncomfortable. You need overhangs. Retrofitting with window awnings cuts air conditioning loads by a third by reducing radiation.”

Building Green Gathers Momentum

GreenBuild Expo Logo

Representatives from the Metal Construction Association’sThe Metal Initiative, attended the Greenbuild Expo in San Francisco last week. It was great to be in a setting where so many professionals are devoted to building green. The movement has shifted, however—architects and building owners are building green not just because they want to do the right thing, they are doing it because it makes good business sense.

According to a new study released at Greenbuild 2012 by McGraw-Hill Construction, the top reasons for building green are client demand, market demand, lower operating costs and branding advantage. In 2008, the top reasons were doing the right thing and market transformation. This shift signifies that firms are seeing the value in building green, and that it can strengthen their bottom line. And building green is not just for new construction; renovation projects also reap the benefits, including near-term and long-term operating cost savings for building owners, as well as increased building values. (You can read the full article with additional details about McGraw-Hill Construction’s new study on the United States Green Building Council site.)

It was great to see so many MCA member companies exhibiting at Greenbuild 2012, and a reminder of the many green benefits in building with metal. Metal construction products have high recycled content and are recyclable, have fully developed distribution networks and are energy efficient. Their many benefits allow them to qualify for points in the United States Green Building Council’s LEED program. And their design flexibility allows architects and building owners to achieve design goals while building green.

Want to learn more about building green with metal? Register for our free webinar “Building Green with Metal Roofs and Walls” on January 17, 2013.

Stainless Steel: A Cool Option for Building Exteriors

Airports with stainless steel roofs help with cooling efficiencyFred Nolan of NOW Specialties Inc.

Recently The Metal Initiative sat down with Jim Halliday of Contrarian Metal Resources, to discuss the solar reflectivity of stainless steel, and its many applications in the building envelope.

TMI: You recently reminded us of something we all seem to know intuitively: that stainless steel has a very low thermal conductivity.  Continue reading Stainless Steel: A Cool Option for Building Exteriors

Kingspan’s Role in Energy-Efficiency Program Elevates Entire Metal Construction Industry

Paul Bertram Jr., Kingspan Insulated Panels, Inc.

As you may know, Kingspan Insulated Panels is one of five private-sector companies, and the only metal building company, involved in a new federal initiative to improve industrial energy efficiency. The Better Buildings, Better Plants program aims to improve energy intensity (an economic indicator of energy efficiency) by 25% over 10 years.

I believe that Kingspan’s participation in this program elevates the visibility of the entire metal construction industry. It highlights our commitment to energy-efficient building technology that performs on par with or better than traditional envelope systems that serve green building and net-zero energy development. The program will:

  • Provide assistance to plants to help their operations meet prescribed energy-efficiency goals, such as net-zero energy
  • Support plant operations that establish and analyze key energy-use data and metrics used to develop baselines and energy-management plans
  • Recognize the insulated metal panel (IMP) as an accepted energy-conservation solution that provides thermally optimized building envelopes
  • Demonstrate to building owners the potential energy cost savings and return on investment achieved with optimized building envelopes. This marks a path toward net-zero.

It is clear that the federal government is interested in anything that saves energy. We all need to think about energy efficiency—whether through solar reflectance and cool roofing or insulation and air barriers. Our industry is leading the way in addressing national and global energy challenges, as seen by Kingspan’s commitment to finding ways of using our own products to save even more energy in the future.

Paul Bertram Jr., FCSI CDT LEED AP, is director of environment and sustainability at Kingspan Insulated Panels, Inc., based in Deland, FL.

The New Ivy Covered Walls

Building Design and Performance: The Stakes Are High

By: Todd Miller, Isaiah Industries, Inc.

Today, it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re planning to build or remodel a tall skyscraper in Manhattan or a rustic vacation getaway outside of Albuquerque, the stakes are high when it comes to product selection.

The first step to specifying products that will lead to a successful project is to determine your criteria. What are the key things you’d like to achieve? Once you determine your criteria, you have benchmarks to weigh competing products against and determine what it will take to create the building of your dreams.

In determining your criteria, there are several keys areas to consider. Let’s take a look at them.

Continue reading Building Design and Performance: The Stakes Are High