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.”
More often than not, architects and designers choose Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) for a combination of reasons, not the least of which is aesthetics given that they come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors, finishes, and textures and can be installed both horizontally and vertically. Metl-Span’s Tuff Wall® IMPs, for example, provide a stucco-like appearance to the new corporate-headquarter addition to the Hitchiner Manufacturing facility, Milford, NH, a casting supplier to manufacturers in the aerospace gas turbine engine industry. But according to Dennis Mires, PA, of The Architects in Manchester, NH, IMPs also met insurance requirements, stayed within the owner’s budget, and provided a high-tech look for the company.
With that in mind, what are top reasons for choosing IMPs? Industry experts say that the metal panels:
are energy-efficient. IMPs have two metal skins, an interior and an exterior, which are bonded to a foam polyisocyanurate insulation core, making them highly energy efficient, said Brian Jaks of Green Span Profiles, Waller, TX, a manufacturer of IMPs. Initially used on cold-storage facilities, the panels have R values as high as 8 per inch, compared to 3.7–4.3 per inch for batt insulation, and range in thickness from 2–6 inches.
have thermal performance. According to Ken Buchinger of Metal Building Components, Inc., who recently spoke at METALCON, IMPs provide continuous insulation and consistent R values across walls, and have concealed fastener systems that prevent thermal bridging between the exterior and interior skins. He further noted that IMPs tend to hold their R value over time and do not have significant thermal drift.
allow for fast installation. IMPs’ one-piece construction makes for faster installation, Buchinger said. Faster installation helps lower construction costs and interim financing costs. Moreover, he said, the steel skins are resistant to abuse and, compared to conventional building envelope materials, are not as affected by adverse weather conditions such as high winds.
are suitable for green building. IMPs were used on the new LEED-gold-certified “Bartholomew Building” addition to William Allen High School in Allentown, PA, for their simplicity of design. “The [system] just goes together,” said Mitch Miller, associate and director of specifications of USA Architects, Easton, PA. “You’re installing the insulation and the finished panel at the same time.” Furthermore, the metal in a panel’s skin often has a high content of recycled steel or aluminum, and, when IMPs are removed from a wall, they can be recycled or re-used on another project, saving them from the landfill.
offer unsurpassed design flexibility. “People like the panel because it has a flat appearance,” Jaks said. “It doesn’t necessarily have corrugation and architects like that.” He added that IMPs are available in a variety of textures, including smooth, embossed, and heavy embossed. They also come in wide range of colors, and can be customized to match any color palette. IMPs’ design flexibility allows the ability to achieve almost any look and increase curb appeal.
are well suited for roof applications. More than 130,000 sq. ft. of IMPs was used to reroof the eight-building Haughton Middle School complex in Haughton, LA. According to Lauren Marchive, project architect with Newman Marchive Carlisle, Inc., Shreveport, LA, the local school board chose IMPs for their thermal performance and because the roof system was available in red, which matched the school’s original design. Even more vital was the speed and ease of installation, and that the roof could be installed during the school year on sections of buildings that were not in use.
Choosing between metal construction materials and systems can be complex—each project has a number of factors that need to be considered. But IMPs offer a host of benefits to make them an attractive choice for a wide variety of projects.
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.
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.
We’ve just posted a new case study about the project that provides more details about how the design process unfolded, and how the architects overcame obstacles to achieve the design that best suited their client’s needs and represented their client’s values. The Metal Initiative offers a library of more than 60 case studies featuring many inspiring project that reflect the benefits of building with metal.
The MCA judging panel chose this project because it incorporates metal into many parts of the building. They were fascinated by the architects’ ability to use metal to represent rock. Lights on the building were incorporated to make the metal look different in summer and in winter.