Category Archives: Sustainability

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.

New Environmental Product Declaration for IMPs

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for insulated metal panels (IMPs) is now available from MCA.

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.

Download the full EPD report, or review the executive summary, to learn more about the environmental aspects of IMPs.

“Cool” Roof Retrofit Earns Praise for Energy Efficiency

By: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association

Sometimes the word “cool” can be a bit overused–but not in the case of this recent metal roof retrofit project with the U.S. Air Force’s Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas. This roof is cool–both literally and figuratively.

In 2010, a team of leading metal construction companies and the Metal Construction Association (MCA) were awarded a $1 million Environmental Security Technologies Certification Program (ESTCP) grant to develop a retrofit metal roof system with integrated renewable energy technologies, including an integrated assembly of six different roofing system components.

View the video above or read MCA’s case study to learn more about the project’s energy-efficient technologies, which include photovoltaics to generate electricity, solar-thermal technologies for domestic hot water and space heating, and rainwater capture for irrigation.after photo WEB

The Department of Energy’s Oakridge National Laboratory will soon be analyzing a full year’s worth of data on heat transfer, energy output from the photovoltaic panels and water usage from the building. MCA expects that the results will be positive, and the Air Force reports that preliminary numbers how a 44-percent reduction in energy consumption.

Stay tuned for the full report and results in the coming months from this “cool” project.

School Strives for Exellence in Classroom, and in Sustainability

Redding School of the Arts
Photo Courtesy of Steve Whittaker

The list of design accolades for the Redding School of the Arts in Redding, CA, is impressive. It is the first new school campus in the world to receive Platinum certification under the LEED for Schools 2009 standards, and it also is expected to achieve Net-Zero. The school is designed to achieve the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) certification, a national movement to improve student performance and enhance the education experience by building the best possible schools.

Area View Of Redding School of the Arts
Photo Courtesy of Steve Whittaker

The design for the school was based on two essential ideas: First, the learning environment should create opportunities to show students, teachers and parents the importance of metal sustainability. Second, students should be inspired to learn in creative, colorful and fun surroundings. To help achieve these two ambitious functional and aesthetic goals, the design team turned to Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation.

“We were looking for metal panels with recycled content, durability and an energy-friendly SRI (Solar Reflective Index) value,” says James Theimer, Principle of Trilogy Architecture who served as architect for the project. “Redding School of the Arts has been designed to last for 100 years. With the metal wall and roof panels, I think we found a product that would live up to that challenge.”

Photo Courtesy of Steve Whittaker
Photo Courtesy of Steve Whittaker

All of the metal panel colors used on the school are listed with ENERGY STAR®, improving energy-efficiency and reducing the amount of energy needed for cooling. The panels also have a long life cycle that will endure the wide temperature variations of the Sacramento Valley, are 100% recyclable, and contain a high percentage of recycled material – contributing to LEED points.

The use of metal wall and roof panels helps give the facility a smart and modern look worthy of its high-profile, high performance mission.

Fact of the Day: Earth Day Edition

By: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association 

It’s Earth Day today, and here is one fact that struck me, courtesy of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI):

More steel is recycled annually than paper, plastic, aluminum and glass combined.

I thought that was pretty remarkable. Approximately 90% of metal roofs and insulated metal panels are made out of steel, much of which is recycled content. That’s just one of the many green benefits found in metal roofs and walls.

View this video to learn more: Metal Roofing and Recyclability.

Five of our Favorite Green Buildings for St. Patrick’s Day

The Bullitt Center
The Bullitt Center, Seattle

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Metal Construction Association (MCA) has decided to celebrate our favorite metal green buildings; figuratively and literally. MCA—and its members—embrace the green construction movement, and support sustainable and energy-efficient products. Here is a list of some green projects we hope you will find interesting and inspiring.

The Bullitt Center, Seattle

Billed as the greenest, most energy efficient commercial building in the world, The Bullitt Center is a net zero energy building that is being constructed to meet the goals of the Living Building Challenge. Scheduled to open in 2013, the building features metal panels from Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation that have a long life span, are 100% recyclable and contain a high percentage of recycled material.

Pixel Building with Green Roofing Aesthetics
Pixel Building, Australia

Pixel Building, Melbourne, Australia

Coined “the office of the future”, the Pixel Building is the first carbon neutral office building in Australia, and has received the highest Green Star rating ever awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia. With striking, multi-colored metal MCM panels from Alpolic on the exterior, the building is sure to grab the attention of passersby.

after photo WEB
GoodFellow Air Force Base, Texas

Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, TX

No, this Department of Defense facility is not olive drab, but the project earned a place on this list because its recent metal-roof retrofit includes integrated renewable energy technologies that will maximize electricity generation. The roof also has a rainwater capture system that will be used for irrigation purposes on the base.

MRI Scanner Unit
MRI Scanner Unit, UK

MRI Scanner Unit, Norwich, United Kingdom

The MRA Scanner Unit project features Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) from Kingspan Benchmark in various shades of green. It’s on this list because we love the colors for St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s not just an attractive project. In fact, IMPs provide consistent insulation and thermal efficiency, often leading to increased energy efficiency.

empiregreen
Empire State Building, New York

Empire State Building, New York City

A true American icon, the Empire State Building is bathed in green lights for St. Patrick’s Day. In 2012 the building was outfitted with a new, energy-efficient LED lighting system that will make this year’s St. Patrick’s celebration even more green. Find out when you can view tower’s lights with their schedule.

MCA wishes you a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Metal Construction Blogs Provide Valuable Perspective

By Cathy Szmurlo, Metal Construction Association

Several members of the Metal Construction Association, which consists of manufacturers and suppliers of metal roof and wall components, have jumped on the blogging band wagon. By adding their input on products, projects, industry issues and current events to the blogosphere, these companies are providing a valuable resource to architects and building owners. We hope you’ll check out these members’ blogs for additional insights, and add them to your reading list:

  • Alpolic Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America – Descriptions of company case studies, news and projects as well as views on compelling metal architecture, design and sustainability projects.
  • American Iron and Steel Institute – Institute news and viewpoints on national and international issues affecting the steel industry.
  • Classic Metal Roofing Systems – Issues and benefits regarding metal roofing for residential building projects.
  • Copper Development Association – News and views regarding the use of copper in specific industry categories, including building construction.
  • Drexel Metals — Photos and videos along with viewpoints on company metal roofing products and projects.
  • Englert  – Metal roof and wall panel project commentary and insight on industry issues.
  • Kingspan – News and winning entries for Generation Kingspan™ Student Architectural Competition – a competition for students of architecture.
  • MBCI – Insights on metal roofing and wall issues such as the green movement, LEED, solar roofing and PV.
  • Metal Construction News – Industry news and views from publication staff.
  • Metalforming USA – Company and industry news from architectural machinery manufacturer.
  • Metalmag – Metal construction industry viewpoints from online magazine.
  • Miller Clapperton – Company, project and business opinion from this MCM fabricator.
  • Petersen Aluminum – Descriptive project articles and photos on a variety of company metal roofing projects.
  • Rigid Global Buildings – Company news and events from this metal building, roof and wall panel manufacturer.

DOD + Metal Retrofit = Energy Efficiency

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is a leader in energy efficiency for good reason—it is mandated to reduce energy use on its properties by 30% by 2015 and by another 37.5% by 2020. Three years ago, a team of leading metal construction companies and the Metal Construction Association (MCA) were awarded a $1 million grant to develop a retrofit metal roof system for a DOD building with integrated renewable energy technologies. Today, Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, TX, boasts a retrofit metal roofing system that integrates a host of solar energy-saving technologies and the ability to capture rainwater for irrigation purposes. View the case study of the project for more complete information.Goodfellow AFB

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is monitoring the building’s temperature and heat information. According to Scott Kriner, MCA technical director, both the DOD and the project team “are confident that this integrated retrofit roof system will perform as predicted and allow for the technology to be transferred throughout the DOD, to other federal agencies, and into the commercial-building sector.”

ORNL should be completing a year-long study of the building’s energy data in 2013 to quantify the impact of the metal roof retrofit project. Stay tuned–we will post more information to this site as it becomes available.

Take the Long View with Metal Roof Retrofit

By Mark James, RetroSpec, LLC.

St. Louis, MO steel roof systemsIf 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.Retrofitting 40 year old roof with steel and copper

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.

For designers and architects, metal retrofits add generous curb appeal to buildings. Architectural metal roofs are meant to be seen, and a stunning sloped metal retrofit is seen far and wide—and well into the future.

Mark James is president of RetroSpec, LLC, Dallas, TX. He can be reached at mark@retrospecllc.com.

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.