Tag Archives: Building Green

“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.

3 Reasons Why Facebook Chose Perforated Metal Panels

Facebook Data Center, Prineville, OR

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

There are three very good reasons why nearly a quarter of the 65,000 square feet of metal wall panels on Facebook’s new data center in Prineville, OR, are perforated panels. Foremost, the screen metal walls secure the center’s sizable generator yard and help ventilate its diesel-fueled backup generators.

The metal panels, including the perforated metal panels, also are customized by Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation  to allow the entire structure to meet strict LEED® Gold certification standards. More than half of each perforated panel—52.94%, to be exact—is open area for ventilation.

Last is aesthetics. The metal panels perfectly complement the simple and minimalist design of the neutral-colored center. But don’t let the Facebook data center’s understated façade fool you; inside the center is a powerhouse. The energy-efficient structure houses tens of thousands of Facebook’s servers containing information for its 800 million users. The only hint that the building serves one of the busiest websites in the world is the blue flag with the iconic ‘Facebook’ logo.

To recap, those three reasons are –

1. Superior ventilation
2. LEED® Standards
3. Aesthetics

Want to learn more about the role metal has played in Facebook’s new data center? Metal Sales has the full story.

Shipping Containers Find New Life in Metal Construction

Monterrey Technical University - Student Center
Student Center, Monterrey Technical University, Juarez, Mexico

By: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association

Fortune Magazine recently featured a story about Starbucks’ use of shipping containers in the design of their new drive-through coffee shops. According to Fortune, a good portion of the 900 or so drive-through locations that Starbucks plans to build in the next five years will be made using retrofitted metal shipping containers.

The use and repurposing of metal shipping containers in construction is a growing trend, even though they are not always less expensive than other manufacturing methods.  And re-using a metal shipping container that would otherwise be destined for the scrap heap can make a statement about sustainability, especially when used with other “green” building efficiencies.

MCA’s 2012 Chairman’s Award Winner in the Education-Colleges & Universities category is a creative example of how shipping containers can be used in construction. The project, a student center for Monterrey Technical University in Juarez, Mexico, was designed by Ruben Escobar, a graduate of MTU and principle at the architecture firm Grupo ARKHOS.

Monterrey Technical University 1 WEBThe student center uses 14 metal shipping containers to make a 7,000 sq. ft. space for students to  interact socially. With exposed metal making up 80% of the new building’s structure, Escobar integrated a metal skin composed of Reynobond composite aluminum panels around the building’s entrance. The 4-mm panels from Alcoa Architectural Products proved to be a perfect complement to the shipping containers, and also were chosen for their durability.Monterrey Technical University 2 WEB

Not only is the new building constructed primarily of recycled materials, but it also is designed to keep cooling costs low. An outdoor paint scheme that uses automotive paint mixed with ceramic nanospheres helps repel the desert sun’s rays, and  a series of aluminum and glass garage doors open up to provide natural ventilation about 8 months out of the year.

It is estimated that there are more than 17 million shipping containers in the world today. Because the United States imports far more than it exports, there is a surplus of empty shipping containers in this country. Metal shipping container-inspired architecture is just one way to give new life and purpose to these resources.

Metal Construction Industry Experts Eye Growth in 2013

By: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association

According to a “State of the Metal Construction Industry” report published by Metal Construction News recently, modest growth is expected for the industry in 2013. Viewpoints from several industry experts were included in the report, and most agreed that residential construction would be a key growth driver for the industry in the near-term, with additional highlights including manufacturing facilities and the energy sector.

Though the panel of experts is optimistic, there are some threats to the growth and profitability of the industry. The two biggest threats come as no surprise: continued economic uncertainty and a challenging political environment.

Other highlights from the state of the industry report include insights on building green, how technology is changing the industry, and outlooks on how the industry will evolve over the next 10 years.

For the full “State of the Metal Construction Industry” report, visit Metal Construction News.