The cost of replacing a roof can be one of the most significant maintenance expenses in the life of a building. USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building rating program (version 4) assumes a building service life of 60 years. With most types of roofing, building owners can expect to replace the roof once or twice in that amount of time, incurring significant expense to do so.
Many buildings are The Metal Construction Association (MCA) is proud to announce a new study that verifies that coated steel roofs can last as long as the buildings they cover. The research study concluded that the expected service life of an unpainted 55% Al-Zn coated steel standing seam roof constructed today in a wide range of environments using best practices can be expected to be in excess of 60 years.
Learn more about the study here, and access the full study and executive report in MCA’s Technical Resources library.
EPDs provide life-cycle assessment information and details about the product’s environmental impact (i.e., raw-material extraction, transportation, packaging, and disposal). As such, EPDs assist purchasers and users in making informed comparisons among products.
“With the recent approval of LEED v4 rating system, we expect to see more members of the design community looking for EPDs as part of an overall emphasis on transparency,” notes MCA Technical Director Scott Kriner. “The EPD for IMPs is based on the life-cycle assessment of this product category. It is a major step forward for the metal construction industry in reporting the environmental impact of IMPs.”
IMPs are composed of rigid foam that is sandwiched between two sheets of coated metal. Their steel or aluminum panel facings create a vapor, air, and moisture barrier that provide long-term thermal stability. According to MCA-member manufacturers, IMPs
offer long-term durability
come in a multitude of colors and finishes
offer cost-competitive construction advantages and long-term high performance to help lower operating costs for building owners in any construction market.
Best known as the home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos, Mile High Stadium has been home to the likes of Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. The metal stadium also was the venue for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as well as concerts from bands including U2 and the Eagles.
Formerly known as Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, Sports Authority signed a 25-year agreement for the naming rights in 2011. That should be a safe investment because the metal wall panels on that stadium will be looking great and performing well for many years to come.
With the help of zinc wall panels, you’d never guess that this retail building, located in Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago, was formerly a Borders bookstore. The black and patina-blue VMZinc flat lock panels are not only versatile and extremely durable, but they add visual interest, even an edginess, to the building design, say Jim Tuschall of Tuschall Engineering Company Inc., Burr Ridge, IL, and architect Wil Bruchmann of Antunovich Associates, Chicago.
The project serves as an anchor to a revitalized retail street corridor near the University of Chicago campus. Slated to open in June, the building houses a women’s clothing store and yoga studio in the front portion colored blue, and a high-end restaurant and music venue in the black- colored back.
“I was drawn to the patinaed zinc because its color changes slightly with the time of day, weather, and seasons. Every time you look at the building, it has a whole different color that can range from gray to aqua blue to anywhere in between,” says Bruchmann. “The panels are uniform height but random lengths. Adding detail to the wall also created a dynamic transition between the two colors, which mimic the differing uses within the building.”
Bruchmann also notes the long life of zinc. “It ages well over time and is very resilient,” he says. “There’s no question in mind that this was the best product for this particular project. There’s no other material out there that could create this sort of look and feel.”
This month Grand Central Terminal in New York City is celebrating its 100th birthday. The iconic landmark has been a transportation hub for generations of travelers and commuters, and a destination for tourists and visitors looking to get a flavor for the Big Apple’s history.
I had the good fortune of working several blocks of Grand Central for several years prior to joining the Metal Construction Association, and often visited it to grab a bite for lunch, meet a friend who was coming to town, or just to enjoy the beauty of the main concourse.
While the main concourse is stunning, and on each visit I would notice for the first time architectural details that I had never noticed before, I always found Grand Central’s copper roof to be striking. With its green-patina and ornate details, it seemed to be the perfect crown for one of the city’s most impressive landmarks.
But after spending time with MCA, I now have a greater appreciation for what that roof represents. It’s not just a beautiful architectural detail, but it’s also a high-performance feature that helped the building stand the test of time. The original roof, installed in 1913, was recently replaced with a new copper roof as part of a recent renovation, even though engineers determined that it was still serviceable almost 100 years later. That’s something that the average person might take for granted, or not fully appreciate. But not only did the copper roof look great, it performed well for nearly a century.
If anyone understands long-term life cycles, it’s a cemetery owner. I know one in St. Louis, MO, who owns two large, old mausoleums that stand side by side. One mausoleum has steel and copper roof systems that have remained relatively maintenance- and repair-free—and beautiful—for as long as 80 years. The other mausoleum has a flat-roof addition, built in 1986, which has a conventional roofing system that has been plagued by leaks for decades.
After determining the life-cycle costing and return on investment on the two roofs, it’s not surprising that the owner decided to retrofit the flat-roof addition with a metal roof. He anticipates far fewer worries with a metal roof, given its ability to shed rainwater and its 40- to 60-year service life.
In addition to its longevity and durability, metal retrofit also offers long-term cost-savings in the form of appreciable value of the building, better insurance rates, and energy-efficiency. Adding insulation to a metal retrofit can provide R30 thermal resistance—one reason why you increasingly see them on military and municipal buildings, including schools. Many building owners choose to add renewable solar energy technologies to these roofs, such as photovoltaics or solar hot-water systems, which can reap huge tax benefits.
Gone are the days of contractors having to justify the expense of metal roofing to customers, said Rob Haddock, founder of S-5!®, at METALCON in Rosemont, IL. Today, metal roofing is increasingly regarded as the premiere cost-saving, solar-mounting platform because, unlike other roofing systems, metal roofing can outlive PV systems by some 20-30 years, he said.
Haddock noted that the service life of Galvalume steel roofs is at least 50-60 years, far exceeding the service life of crystalline PV modules by some 20-30 years. “Roof replacement is not necessary,” he said. “The roof outlives the PV system.” He noted several benefits of metal roofing, including that it’s a highly recycled construction material, is relatively maintenance-free, and that PV systems can be mounted with zero roof penetration by using seam clamps.
Haddock pointed out that while traditional-generated energy is rising, the cost of solar systems has dropped by about a third in the last 5 years—from $3 per watt to about $1 per watt. Moreover, he said, “solar has a bright, sustainable future” as it gains support at the federal and state levels and among American consumers.
Currently, the Metal Construction Association is supporting a study on the longevity of the Galvalume standing-seam metal roof system. Engineer Ron Dutton told METALCON attendees that Galvalume roofing systems in various climates around the country are being quantitatively analyzed. Preliminary results show that the service life of the metal roofing system far exceeds the entire assumed 60-year service life of buildings. The final results of the study are expected 2013, he said.
Dutton noted several benefits of Galvalume, including that it has excellent long-term durability, life-cycle costing, and cut-edge protection. It can also be designed to various insulation requirements; has low maintenance costs; and is light weight, readily available, and competitively priced.
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.
Today’s metal roofs provide far more than just protection from water intrusion; they now add visual beauty, style, and personality to a building—and then some. This is particularly true with steep slope metal roofs, those with a 3:12 or greater pitch. Some of these roofs can cover as much as two-thirds of a building’s exterior, providing a broad canvas on which to make a visual statement.
For property owners, choosing an attractive roof that enhances a building’s overall design is critical. There are many options of metal roofs from which to choose. Standing seam metal roofs offer clean, straight vertical lines. Numerous through-fastened profiles provide a more fluted or corrugated look. Then, there are metal roofs specifically designed and manufactured to look like wood shakes, slate, barrel tile, and even dimensional shingles. With these options and advances in coating, we can safely bid farewell to those monochromatic, heavy-looking metal roofs of yesteryear.
But, as you know, beauty is more than skin deep. There are other advantages to steep-slope metal roofing, including its
Low Weight. Metal roofs typically weigh from 50 to 125 lbs. per 100 sq ft. Aluminum metal roofs are typically the lightest, while steel and copper roofs, at about 125 lbs. per 100 sq ft, are about one-third the weight of standard shingles.
Wind Resistance. The uplift pressures exerted on steep slope metal roofs can be significant during heavy windstorms. Due to their fastening methods and often interlocking nature, metal roofs hold on tight, even in heavy winds.
Lower Installation Cost. Labor costs to install roofing are increasing annually—and, according to some research, are expected to double every 10 years. With very steep or geometrically complex metal roofs, labor can represent a significantly large part of the entire roofing project, even more than the roofing material itself. For that reason alone, it makes good economic sense to choose a durable, lasting metal roof and follow the adage, “Do it right. Do it once.”
Think of metal roofing as a building upgrade that adds property value, beauty, comfort, efficiency, protection, and freedom from maintenance. Contact MCA for more information on metal roofing.
No matter the age or style of building, retrofitting with metal can offer many benefits, including potential long-term savings, design flexibility, sustainability and energy efficiency. Building Operating Managementmagazine recently published a four-part feature article focusing on the many benefits of retrofitting with metal. The article offers a wealth of information and features insights from several Metal Construction Association member companies.