Metal building, residential and roofing contractors, architects, engineers, developers, facility managers, fabricators and building owners from the US and abroad. Attend because it’s the only show of its kind in the world!
In a recent webinar, Dr. Jim Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing noted several benefits and limitations of the Health Product Declaration (HPD), and even looked beyond it to newer alternative documents.
Hoff said that on the upside, the HPD document itself is relatively simple and straightforward— “it looks like a Material Safety Data Sheet (SDS),” —and is inexpensive, especially compared to Environmental Product Declarations. Still, he noted the HPD
uses little or no formal consensus review. “As a building envelope researcher and a longtime participant in standards processes throughout the world, I believe it certainly is a limitation to have a development process that is an ad-hoc process, developed outside a recognized consensus standard,” he said. “The development process does not include all stakeholders that are typically included in ANSI and ASTM processes. For example, building material manufacturers are not included in specific decision-making committees,” he said.
identifies hazard without assessing risk.
identifies chemicals of concern using many different sources with varying thresholds. Hoff cited examples of hazard warnings, such as the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of known or likely carcinogen, but also pointed to what he considers “less authoritative” warnings. For example, “California Proposition 65 includes many chemicals hazardous only as precursors or during manufacturing,” he said. “When you’re looking at materials that are key ingredients in many common roofing materials [i.e., titanium dioxide, carbon black, wood dust, and bitumen], they are not generally considered to be hazardous in their finished form.”
Other newer alternative documents may offer better information, he said. “There is a whole new generation of MSDSs that are starting in 2014 that are based on a very, very rigorous, globally harmonized system, now endorsed through international treaties and endorsed and integrated by the U.S. EPA.” The new SDSs offer hazard information in a very similar methodology to HPDs and will be available much more rapidly, he said.
Another new product is the Product Transparency Declaration (PTD), which addresses risk as well as hazard assessment. “PTDs take a look at threshold levels and paths for exposure that are important in many products,” he said. Developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute and submitted to become an ASTM standard, the PTD could be available to a wide variety of products, Hoff said.
Meanwhile, Hoff stressed that HPDs are included in LEED v4 and are likely to be proposed for next version of International Green Construction Code. As such, he calls on material suppliers to
be proactive and engaged.
develop a uniform approach and promote industry-wide initiatives to develop consistent reporting.
use the Notes section of HPDs to explain or tell the whole story of their products.
promote alternatives to HPDs that include risk assessment in addition to hazard identification.
Transparency is a common theme in design and construction these days, and product disclosure is quickly becoming a key issue for the building materials industry. Increasingly, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are being required by designers and specifiers, and the findings of these reports are playing a more prominent role in how materials are chosen for projects.
Speaking primarily to material manufacturers and building designers, Hoff noted that the concept of product disclosure is moving very rapidly into the construction marketplace and is being driven by several market forces, including the green-building press, green data aggregators, and by leading architecture-engineering firms that are participating in a disclosure campaign.
Product disclosure continues to emerge in building standards and codes as well, including LEED, ASHRAE 189.1, and the International Green Construction Code. “Although the concept of disclosure is relatively new, material disclosure has or will be adopted in every major green building standard and code, and it is being introduced at almost at an unprecedented pace,” he said. Hoff explained that EPDs help disclose well known environmental impacts (i.e., global warming and ozone depletion) using established metrics and standardized processes. “It’s a very quantifiable process based on good science,” he said. He further emphasized that EPDs use a well vetted, standardized format based on global ISO consensus standards and a scientific approach over the entire product life cycle. They also provide quantitative measures of key environmental impacts.
“Of course these benefits come at a certain price,” he said. “In fact, price itself is a primary limitation of EPDs today. In my consulting practice, I’ve been involved in the development of several Life Cycle Assessments and EPDs. The order of magnitude for a typical roofing material could easily be in the six figures by the time all is said and done.” He further noted that EPDs
pose difficulties in integrating products with varying service lives.
fail to address energy efficiency contributions. “When you’re looking at the environment impacts of thermal insulation or a cool roofing membrane, you [may] not be looking at environment contributions of those products, which could offset many of those impacts.”
fail to address health impacts. “EPDs today primarily address measurements of environment burden, but they do not specifically and are currently not designed to address the potential for health and safety burdens of materials.”
There are also challenges with limited underlying data, which may lead different practitioners to obtain different results.
Hoff encourages material suppliers to consider jointly developing generic EPDs for key industry product segments. “I think there’s a real value in that,” he said. “First, you’ll learn a lot more about the process yourself and, secondly, you’ll be able to provide much broader information that can be very helpful in the marketplace.” Then, he said, get the information to data integrators, but first make sure you are using the best information available.
Overall, “increased product transparency is good because it provides a better understanding of ingredients and supply chain impacts and a strong incentive for continuous improvement,” Hoff said. But, he adds, comparisons among products will remain difficult and unpredictable. Risks include overlooking important factors and trade-offs, and arbitrarily excluding excellent products and suppliers.
Hoff’s comments on Health Product Declarations will be featured in an upcoming blog. For questions on EPDs, contact Dr. Hoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Pose this question to Robert J. Whitcomb, AIA, RRC, of C. B. Goldsmith and Associates, Inc., who served as designer on the RoofPoint-recognized East Lake High School roof-replacement project in Tarpon Springs, FL, and he will answer with a resounding yes.
“Having a program to evaluate, approve, and certify our roofing work has value if just to show our clients that the design was peer-reviewed and found to be sustainable,” says Whitcomb, who, not surprisingly, plans to incorporate the same sustainable strategies used in this project on other future projects.
Like many metal manufacturers, Whitcomb learned about RoofPoint only recently, upon completing the 216,283-sq. ft. high school roof and exterior-renovation project in spring 2012. After familiarizing himself with RoofPoint’s roof rating system, he applied for and received a Roofpoint certificate of recognition for the project.
“Our first impression of RoofPoint was that it is similar to LEED, but for roofing,” Whitcomb says. “We thought it was great that there was a program now in place to recognize our efforts. The validation came when our application [for this project] was approved, and we received our certificate of recognition.”
Whitcomb says that from the start, the school roof project was focused on sustainability, and that aim influenced all decisions, from material selection to phasing and scheduling. The high school’s new roof features a Drexel DMC 175S 0.040‐in. aluminum standing seam (snap lock) metal roof system with custom flashings and details and solar reflective roof coatings over the existing modified roofs, among other features.
What is RoofPoint? RoofPoint is a voluntary, consensus-based green rating system that helps building owners and designers select nonresidential roof systems based on long-term energy and environmental benefits. It was developed by the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR), Washington, DC, a not-for-profit organization focused on the development and use of environmentally responsible roofing systems and technologies.
Word of RoofPoint is spreading. According to CEIR’s James Hoff, DBA, vice-president of research, and Jim Kirby, AIA, vice-president of sustainability, more than 1,000 roof-project applications are expected by the end of this year, and that number is expected to grow 10-fold in just 5 years. They stress that RoofPoint is particularly applicable to metal roofing systems and that the program
• is suitable for both low-slope and steep slope roofs, including architectural metal systems.
• provides credit for thermal break clips used with many metal roofing systems.
• recognizes a wide variety of roof surface colors other than just white as an appropriate cool roof surface.
• contains credits that help recognize metal roofing’s unique durability and life cycle features.
• recognizes both recycled content and material reuse, which are both very easy with metal.
According to its website, RoofPoint provides a simple, transparent, and professional measure to ensure that new and replacement roof systems are designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with the best sustainable practices available today. For more information on the program, visit www.roofpoint.org.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And our friends at DesignandBuildwithMetal.com have been covering the story, publishing two stories on the topic recently. Ken Buchinger from MBCI recently wrote an article that shared his perspective about why standing seam metal roofs make the perfect platform for photovoltaic (PV) systems because the roofs have a service life that is likely to outlive the PV system, and because the systems can be mounted to metal roofs without penetrating the roof. Bob Zabcik of NCI Group, Inc. also penned an article that confronts common misconceptions about solar roofing.
We’re used to hearing about the well-established green and sustainable benefits of solar roofing, but Bob and Ken both take the stance that there are significant economical benefits in solar roofing, as well. PV systems can be expensive, but over time these systems can generate significant returns on the initial investment. And to protect that investment, metal roofing is the ideal platform for PV systems.
• 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.