What do a cool metal roof and a bike rack have in common? Both achieve one point in the LEED rating system, a program of the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.
I don’t mean to knock the LEED program, but in the grand scheme of things, shouldn’t the energy performance of a roof warrant more credit points than the one point currently offered? Wouldn’t that provide more incentive to property owners considering LEED certification? I think so. What can you do about it and where do you get started?
Ten years ago when the Energy Star roofing program was initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, the program required test samples for a rating from actual field applications that had been in place for three years. The program also required samples from jobs in three different geographies. For a standard product line of 20 colors, you had to send a roofing team out to 60 different locations, acquire a cut sample out of a customer’s roof and figure out how to address the hole that remained. Not so practical. Fortunately, a group of industry leaders worked through a combination of trade associations and individual efforts to point out to Energy Star officials that the paint industry happened to maintain test-fence farms in some of the nation’s most aggressive environments. Those test fences included products from effectively all metal-roofing manufacturers.
As a result of that effort, the first modification to Energy Star included a provision that allowed test-fence samples to be included in lieu of actual field samples. This revision opened the door to the broad range of metal-roofing products that now are listed on the Energy Star Web site, www.energystar.gov.
I think there are many other cool-roofing opportunities that could be pursued through a concerted industry-wide effort. Should we wait three years for weathered test samples when the Energy Star standard allows for 25 to 40 percent loss of reflectivity and it can be empirically proven that- Kynar does not lose more than 2 percent reflectivity in that timeframe? A revision specific to high-performance-test-proven finishes would allow for the inclusion of custom colors on Energy Star-qualifying projects without compromising the principles of the program.
Metal roofing already has established a well-deserved position in sustainable and energy-efficient design. That said, I think we should realize that the green- architecture movement is a rapidly changing playing field. I believe there are some unnecessary obstacles that have limited our potential. The instances cited above are just two examples. It is incumbent upon the leaders of our industry to work together toward eliminating these obstacles. Anyone care to join me?
Mike Petersen is president of Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill. He can be reached at email@example.com or (800) 323-1960.