By Patrick Lanning
Hot Meets Cold
When it comes to nature, the goal is equilibrium. Our natural environment is constantly changing and rearranging to achieve the not-so-simple balance that is necessary to sustain life. Sustainable construction should always attempt to mimic this goal, by constantly re-evaluating ideas about eco-friendly practices, and by bringing together the ideas that work. Two such designs that are finding a working balance are cool roofing and solar power.
At its most basic level, cool roofing reflects solar heat, lowers indoor temperatures, by reducing heat transfer into a facility. According to studies conducted by the U.S. Federal Energy Management Program and the U.S. Department of Energy, cool roofing technology has been proven to save energy (and energy costs), help cool urban heat islands, reduce greenhouse gases and pollutants, and assist in slowing global warming, among other benefits.1) It has even been granted the potential to ‘revolutionize the building industry’.2)
The combination of cool roofing and photovoltaic technology creates the unique opportunity to not only reduce the sun’s harmful impacts, but to also positively harness renewable solar energy for power generation. The hot and cold balance of rooftop-mounted PV systems provides a natural solution for the current American challenge of net-zero building.
The Right Material for the Job
Experts agree that the most sensible of choices for a cool roofing/solar power solution is metal. Metal roofing proves to be an ideal match for photovoltaic systems because of their low maintenance and longevity. Most importantly, the two are well-suited in terms of life-cycle costing, as both materials are built to last. Other conventional roofing materials may last only a fraction of the time of a metal roof, requiring that any extra installations (like PV panels) be removed before repairing or re-roofing--resulting in an often very costly endeavor. With proper maintenance, a metal roof will last for many years to come, ensuring a sturdy platform for durable PV systems and long-term economic benefits.
Metal roof surfaces also facilitate penetration-free attachment of the system and its auxiliary components, leaving the roof protected. PV panels are attached to metal panel ribs with a multi-purpose clip, employing a tight compression-hold method. This reduces labor during installation and repair, and makes for a stronger total system. Solar roofs made in this fashion are unlikely to leak or be damaged in the spots that would otherwise be weakened by penetrating fasteners.
New Options Available
One Kentucky-based company, Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation, has recently introduced a new photovoltaic panel program to unite cool metal roofing and photovoltaic technology. Metal Sales Solar Roofing Solutions brings Solar Flare (crystalline panels) and Solar Flex (thin film panels) to its already extensive sustainable product line, complementing a company-wide objective of attractive and functional building products.
With more than 45 years of experience in the metal manufacturing industry, Metal Sales adds this solar technology to a time-tested line of metal panel products, allowing specifiers a wider variety of aesthetic and sustainable options than ever before. As a nationwide provider of metal panels for the building and construction industry, the company’s move toward solar technology is in keeping with today’s global progression towards environmental responsibility.
“PV systems are an obvious and smart companion to metal roofing, and we are excited to bring the two together for our customers,” says David Stermer, Director of Engineering of Metal Sales. “Solar energy systems can drastically improve efficiency in virtually all types of building applications. With this program, we can now help our customers to be more eco-friendly and economical, and our proven metal panels can be trusted to serve as a sturdy and sustainable mount for the new technology.”
Solar Flare and Solar Flex can both be used on new or existing roofs, and each provides distinct advantages. Solar Flare is a rigid crystalline panel that provides high energy efficiency per surface area, and is mounted to standing seam panel ribs. Solar Flex, a flexible thin film with adhesive backing, attaches to the flat pan of the roof panel. It has a low profile, facilitates shading and captures ambient light exceptionally well.
Additionally, the Metal Sales PV program offers three power options: MS MicroPower KitSM, MS PowerChoiceSM, and MS PowerPlus+SM. These options are chosen based on customer need in terms of facility size and the amount of power generated. Metal Sales will work with customers to determine the appropriate tier for their projects. These systems provide all auxiliary components and support information, making installation as easy as possible.
Metal Sales Solar Roofing Solutions will provide another economically viable and environmentally friendly energy solution for Metal Sales’ customers. In addition to the inherent sustainability and economic benefits of pairing PV systems with metal roofing, customers will also be eligible for ENERGY STAR® federal tax credits. Through December 31, 2016, customers will receive credits equaling up to 30% of the cost for new or existing construction projects with no upper limit. Combined with tax credits available for metal roofing projects, consumers are vastly rewarded for environmental building efforts, making PV systems and metal roofing a wise choice for any new or retrofit project.
Patrick Lanning is Marketing Manager at Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation (www.metalsales.us.com).
For more information, please send your e-mails to email@example.com.
ⓒ2011 www.interpv.net All rights reserved.