Tag Archives: green buildings

A look at, and beyond, HPDs

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

Jim HoffIn 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.

For more information, contact Dr. Jim Hoff jhoff@roofingcenter.org.

How EPDs Will Impact the Building Envelope

MCA's Insulated Metal Panel EPD
MCA’s Insulated Metal Panel EPD

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

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.

Earlier this week, Dr. Jim Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing discussed several tools for product disclosure, including EPDs, in a webinar featured by Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing magazine.

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

  • are complicated.
  • 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.

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) recently compiled data from multiple manufacturers to publish an EPD for insulated metal panels (the full report and an executive summary are available on MCA’s website). MCA is putting the finishing touches on EPDs for single skin panels as well as metal composite panels.

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 jhoff@roofingcenter.org.

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.

Metal Construction in Atlanta: Portman Family Middle School

Portman Family Middle School, Atlanta, GA

Editor’s Note: As we gear up for METALCON International, Oct 1-3 in Atlanta, we’re highlighting some of our favorite Atlanta metal construction projects. We hope to see you next week in Atlanta!

Sports arenas, event centers and skyscrapers generate the most buzz around their construction. Other buildings, such as schools, may not enjoy the limelight, but they’re no less important. In fact, one could argue the design, planning and function of a school building affects the future of more people than any other building type.

As you tour Atlanta during the upcoming METALCON, Oct 1-3, you can’t miss metal’s contributions to the city’s famous buildings. But get off the beaten path a bit, and take note of some of the less known, yet highly influential ones.

Atlanta-based Portman Family Middle School is a prime example of design done well, and metal products contribute to the middle school’s educational and green attributes. A LEED Gold-certified building, construction of the middle school was made possible by a generous $10 million donation by Jan and John Portman.

Designed by architecture firm Shepley Bulfinch, the 75,000 sq.-ft. building was completed in 2009. Some of the “green” features of the design include:

• a garden roof used as an interactive learning space with native plants fed by a rainwater-fed runnel carrying water through the garden to a cistern below
• low-flow faucets, waterless urinals, and dual flush toilets
• daylight sensors, solar hot water, and a high-performance exterior envelope

ALPOLIC aluminum composite panels are central to the high-performance exterior envelope. The metal panels were chosen for their versatility, durability, modern appearance and energy efficiency.

As an energy-efficient green building, the middle school not only saves tens of thousands of dollars annually, it also educates hundreds of children about the importance of sustainable living.

Metal’s use as a green construction material will no doubt be a hot topic at METALCON this year. For a prime example of metal’s green attributes in action, check out Portman Family Middle School, too.

Is RoofPoint Recognition Worth It?

East Lake High School, Tarpon Springs, FL

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

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.

East Lake High 2 WEB

“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.

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.

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!