Tag Archives: green buildings

By: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association

Just to close the loop on our recent glut of posts about solar power and metal roofs, we are pleased to share a Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) report released today that states that 2012 was a record year for solar installation, as reported by CNN.

In 2012 more than 3.3 gigawatts of solar power were installed, which is enough to power about 500,000 homes. That is a 76% increase from 2011, and the industry expects another record year for solar power installations in 2013.

“There were 16 million solar panels installed in the U.S. last year – more than 2 panels per second of the work day – and every one of these panels was bolted down by a member of the U.S. workforce,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “We’ve brought more new solar online in 2012 than in the three prior years combined.”

See below for some fun facts about the Top 10 Solar States, and visit SEIA for an executive summary of the full report.

Related Posts:

Top 10 Solar States

Solar Roofs Revisited: Economic Benefits as well as Green Benefits

Metal Roofing and Solar PanelsBy: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association

The connection (pun intended) between metal roofing and solar (photovoltaic) systems has been a common theme for the Metal Construction Association’s The Metal Initiative these past few months. See some of the latest blog entries from February and December. We also recently hosted a webinar for architects on the metal roofing and solar topic. If you missed us, sign up for our next “Metal Roofing: The Perfect Platform for Solar Technologies” webinar.

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.

Solar roofsJoin us for our next “Metal Roofing: The Perfect Platform for Solar Technologies” webinar and earn AIA CES credits, or feel free to visit our event calendar for other events and webinars that may be of interest.

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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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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