The cost of replacing a roof can be one of the most significant maintenance expenses in the life of a building. USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building rating program (version 4) assumes a building service life of 60 years. With most types of roofing, building owners can expect to replace the roof once or twice in that amount of time, incurring significant expense to do so.
Many buildings are The Metal Construction Association (MCA) is proud to announce a new study that verifies that coated steel roofs can last as long as the buildings they cover. The research study concluded that the expected service life of an unpainted 55% Al-Zn coated steel standing seam roof constructed today in a wide range of environments using best practices can be expected to be in excess of 60 years.
Learn more about the study here, and access the full study and executive report in MCA’s Technical Resources library.
Although the credit of Georgia Tech’s 63-21 win over Western Carolina last weekend belongs to the team and coaches of the Atlanta-based institute, maybe, just maybe, metal roofing played a role in the win? Okay it’s a stretch, but consider this: Georgia Tech players began practicing in the school’s new indoor practice facility in August, and that facility has a metal roof that is designed to arc like a perfectly thrown pass and provide maximum space inside. If the roof “played a role in a winning football formula,” says Bill Croucher, director of engineering at Lancaster-PA-based Fabral, then “Fabral is happy to be part of it.”
It sounds like a win-win to us.
Croucher says that metal is a top choice for curved roofs on stadiums and practice facilities because it provides a choice of color, profiles, and paint and substrates; has a high-recycled content; and is 100% recyclable when the useful life of the roof is over. Moreover, Fabral’s structural standing-seam metal roof offers superior wind-uplift resistance and is Class A fire rated.
Joseph A. Knight, AIA, Knight Architects, Inc., Atlanta, points out that the metal roof panels stretch the full width of the 80,000-square-foot building, without any end-seams. The 24-gauge Galvalume panels are 245-feet long and 16-inches wide. “The metal shines and contrasts nicely with the adjacent brick buildings, as well as the brick at the base of the practice facility itself,” Knight says. “There is really no other material we could have used that would have presented such an aesthetically and economically strong solution.”
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.
This month Grand Central Terminal in New York City is celebrating its 100th birthday. The iconic landmark has been a transportation hub for generations of travelers and commuters, and a destination for tourists and visitors looking to get a flavor for the Big Apple’s history.
I had the good fortune of working several blocks of Grand Central for several years prior to joining the Metal Construction Association, and often visited it to grab a bite for lunch, meet a friend who was coming to town, or just to enjoy the beauty of the main concourse.
While the main concourse is stunning, and on each visit I would notice for the first time architectural details that I had never noticed before, I always found Grand Central’s copper roof to be striking. With its green-patina and ornate details, it seemed to be the perfect crown for one of the city’s most impressive landmarks.
But after spending time with MCA, I now have a greater appreciation for what that roof represents. It’s not just a beautiful architectural detail, but it’s also a high-performance feature that helped the building stand the test of time. The original roof, installed in 1913, was recently replaced with a new copper roof as part of a recent renovation, even though engineers determined that it was still serviceable almost 100 years later. That’s something that the average person might take for granted, or not fully appreciate. But not only did the copper roof look great, it performed well for nearly a century.
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.
If 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.
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.
Cold enough? The last thing you should be doing during a winter snow storm is having to worry about roof leaks caused by ice dams!
That’s why a metal roof is a perfect option for you!
Nationwide, roofing contractors receive hundreds of calls a month from owners looking for solutions to end problems during the winter freeze and thaw cycles that can abuse certain roof systems.
Ice dams form during these cycles and create a tremendous amount of weight, lift shingles and cause roof leaks. Ice dams are mainly caused by heat loss that escapes out of the owners building at the eaves of the roof. These ice dams are adding to energy costs and shortening the lifecycle of the roof system. The solution requires adding additional insulation at the eaves and installing a metal roof.