TMI releases white paper on metal’s green benefits

The Metal Initiative has produced a white paper explaining how metal roofs and walls can improve the energy efficiency in new and existing commercial properties. Metal roofs and walls offer an unbeatable level of environmental performance and aesthetic appeal.  This white paper illustrates the sustainable, environmental and energy efficient aspects of metal roof and walls systems.  It also explains the versatility of metal and the variety of visible options and behind the scene operating benefits the material offers commercial building developers, contractors, architects and designers.

Following are highlights of the report:

The Growth of Green Buildings
The practice of using the energy, water and materials more efficiently in all phases of commercial building construction has grown dramatically in the last decade. This process, referred to as green building, has shown a positive effect on the planet, people and profit. People living and working in green buildings tend to be healthier and more productive. A green building has low maintenance, reduced operating costs, and less carbon emission, which reduces the building’s environmental impact.
In the last six years, the number of buildings incorporating green or sustainable building practices has quadrupled. Today, more than 50 percent of building owners, architects, engineers and contractors now consistently use green building methods…

Cool Roofing Guidelines
Because of the many color and style options offered by cool roofing, the design professional can incorporate cool metal roofs into all types of structures. Metal roofs can be used on low slope roofs, which are those with a slope from 1/4:12 to 2:12. They also work well for roofs with a steep slope that is 2:12 or greater.

Cool roofing has been the subject of many different research studies involving Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a facility of the Department of Energy. ORNL has compared the weathering of low and steep sloped metal roofs in various colors over a 3-year period with other types of roof materials. From these findings ORNL created an energy savings model that uses a black roof as the benchmark and includes variables depending on the type of roof installed…

In a crowded city environment an abundance of factors such as dark roads, large parking lots, high density of buildings, flat roofs, and less vegetation increase the ambient air temperature. This raises the demand for building air conditioning, which in turn affects the area’s air quality. Taking steps to reduce the outside air temperature in these microclimates can help reduce smog and improve air quality…

Engineering Options
Metal roofing offers a great deal of flexibility in the engineering, which allows designers and owners to achieve both design and performance objectives. The products can be engineered to perform optimally in different environments…

Wall Systems
Cool metal applications are not limited to roofing. The same paint systems used for cool roof systems are used for metal wall systems and these energy efficient wall systems are beginning to gain more visibility in the market. Energy provisions in codes and standards now also mention cool or energy efficient wall systems. The draft of ASHRAE’s High Performance Building Standard, for example, contains provisions for cool metal wall systems.

Beyond the multitude of applications for metal are the environmental aspects of the basic material. Metal roofs and walls have high recycled content, and are recyclable or reusable at the end of the building’s useful life. This lowers the demand for raw materials and reduces construction waste. Steel, for example, is the most recyclable material on the planet…

Benefits in LEED
For projects that are seeking certification in the USGBC’s LEED program, metal roof and wall components can qualify for specific points in this process.

Metal roofs also help improve water efficiency in buildings. Because water easily drains off the roof surface, they are excellent for rainwater catchment. This allows the building to capture and reuse rainwater inside the building or for landscape irrigation. This can qualify for up to 7 LEED points under the Water Efficiency Credits 1, 2, and 3.

The information in the report is based on an AIA/CES-approved course that also is accredited by the USGBC for candidates seeking certification as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional.

About The Metal Initiative
The Metal Initiative is an industry-wide program to educate owners, architects, and contractors about the use of metal in building construction. Visit for informational and educational resources to help you get more building for your money.

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