Category Archives: Sustainability

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.”

Top Reasons to Use Insulated Metal Panels

Hitchiner Manufacturing Studio
Hitchiner Manufacturing
Photo: Studio One, Manchester, NH

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

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:

IMP Manufacturing Suppliesare 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.

Haughton Middle School Metal Roof
Haughton Middle School

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.

are code complaint. In his AIA presentation, Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs): High Performance Green Building Products, Randy Wilken of Metal Building Components, Inc., noted that IMPs qualify as continuous insulation, where required by the International Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE 90.1. They are also available in ASHRAE/California-compliant cool-roof colors, as listed on the Cool Roof Rating Council’s website (www.coolroofs.org).

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.

Metal Roofing Is the Ideal (and Long-Lasting) Platform for Solar Panels

Solar Panels
Long-Lasting Solar Panels

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

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.

FireCreek Restaurant
FireCreek Restaurant with Galvalume Roof

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.

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.

The Beauty of Steep-Slope Metal Roofs

Todd Miller

By: Todd Miller, Isaiah Industries, Inc.

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.NJ church with standing seam metal roof

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.

Metal roof revitalizes historic landmark

MCA Board Chairman Todd Miller is president of Isaiah Industries, Piqua, OH.

Retro Metal Is Always “In”

No, we’re not referring to retro metal music like Kiss or Quiet Riot. We’re talking about retrofitting buildings with metal roofs and metal walls.

Retro metal roof on a elementary school   Elementary school with retrofit 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 Management magazine 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.

Interested in learning more about retrofitting with metal walls and roofs? Register for the free “Retrofitting with Metal Roof and Wall Systems” webinar on November 6.

Visit our Retrofit page for additional resources about retrofitting with metal. Or visit our Case Study library, and search for “Retrofit” to learn more about inspiring retrofit projects.

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.

Which Property Owners Choose Metal?

By: Todd Miller, Isaiah Industries, Inc.

In my metal roofing and construction work, I am frequently asked about what types of property owners choose metal to protect and enhance their buildings. This is a great question but, to be honest, I believe matchmaking is best left to the personal dealings of online dating services. However, there are certain hallmark characteristics of property owners who gravitate toward metal, including having:

  • An appreciation of aesthetics. Those who choose metal usually care deeply about the design and beauty of their buildings. They understand that individual products are integral to the overall design and function of a building. This usually extends beyond the building envelope to include landscaping and the building interior.
  • Concern for operational costs. Property owners who want to reduce their costs for energy and maintenance, both now and well into the future, gravitate toward metal because of its durability and energy efficiency.
  • A long-term view. Metal is perfect for those buildings that owners plan to own for a long time. The real dollar value of metal products tends to kick in during a building’s second decade, when energy savings start to mount. It’s also at this time that less durable building materials need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Concern for the environment. Metal products offer many green benefits. They are sustainable, contain large amounts of recycled content, and are completely recyclable at the end of their long lives.

To find out whether building owners are compatible with the use of metal, I suggest asking them what they wish to accomplish and then having them prioritize their goals. For example, do they seek durability? Energy efficiency? Fire safety? Beauty? As they work through this process, metal will likely appear the logical choice for their building material.

Todd Miller is president of Isaiah Industries, Inc., Piqua, OH.

The New Ivy Covered Walls