11/21/2003

Green From the Top Down

Copper Makes It Possible

 

The Real World

Project: St. Boniface Church, Mequon, WI

Owner:  Episcopal Congregation of Mequon, WI

Project completion: December 2001

Total project cost: $2.5 million

Copper coverage: 20,000 square feet

Copper labor and materials: $280,000

Installed copper cost: $14 per square foot

Architect: HGA, Milwaukee (James Shield, AIA, project architect)

General Contractor: Berghammer Construction Corp., Milwaukee

Roofing Contractor: A.J. Christiansen, Milwaukee

 

A.J. Christiansen comments:  “We tell customers that the expected life of the copper system is 100 years. Because of this and copper’s low maintenance requirements, copper has a lower life-cycle cost than zinc, steel, or aluminum.

“Quality control in manufacturing copper is better than for the other metals in terms of thickness and flatness.

“Most of our customers are pleasantly surprised to learn that labor cost for installing copper systems is cheaper than for pre-finished galvanized metal. It’s a lot easier to work with than any other metal.”

The roof is a top consideration for all buildings. It’s where you have the most potential liabilities, the highest potential maintenance costs, and, of course, it’s the crown of your public image. Despite this age of “value engineering,” it’s not a place to shortchange your building’s life or luster.

If the roof is sloped, metal is often looked at as a first choice when long-term considerations are a primary factor: A metal roof can look good, perform well, and last longer than most alternatives. Among the roofing metals, there’s a wide range of choices, including stainless steel; aluminum; zinc; painted, galvanized, or tin-coated steel or aluminum; and copper – natural, prepatinated, lead coated, or tin-zinc coated. All offer color alternatives. All perform differently. All require good judgment related to your needs.

If you’re considering copper as a first choice, there are several considerations to make. Today, environmental friendliness, sustainability, or greenness is one of the first. (We’ll put cost last but not least.) Compare the following to your possible alternatives: Only 12 percent of known copper ores have been mined to-date. Copper is one of man’s most recycled and recyclable of materials. Architectural products may contain 80 percent or more recycled, pure material. Copper is one of the least energy-intensive metals to mine and fabricate. And, upon installation, presents no threat to the environment.

Next, consider longevity. A properly installed copper architectural system will last for decades. Copper’s corrosion resistance is legendary. Many architectural copper systems have been performing quite well for centuries.

Due to copper’s malleability and multi-finish options, it can be specified in a large array of applications from roofs, flashing, parapets, gutters and scuppers, wall claddings, and more. The family of copper alloys (brasses, bronzes, and copper-nickels) allow the building team extraordinary freedom of design and options for colors, textures, and finishes.

We said we’d talk about cost: Copper’s initial cost may be a bit more than some alternatives; however, its total cost of ownership (TCA) is usually less. TCA includes initial materials cost, installation, maintenance, and recovery. Using a qualified contractor, installation should actually cost less than that of many other types of systems (see The Real World, below). Due to its malleability and ductility, copper installation methods are simple, quick, and often permit designs that would be more costly, if not impossible, using other metals. Most sheet metal tools and equipment used for steel and aluminum may be used for copper installations. And, by the way, when was the last time anyone ever had to pay to have copper construction scrap cleaned up and removed from the building site?

Maintenance costs can do you in. Copper systems need virtually no maintenance. Periodic inspection is always important, regardless of the system chosen. Copper’s protective patina provides a very durable surface for the life of the system.

Recovery is the cost of replacement or removal of the original material at the end of its lifetime. There’s no cost if you don’t have to replace it. And, with copper, its recycled value can run 80 percent or more of its current market value.

Daniel Sternthal is national program manager, Architectural Products at Copper Development Association (www.copper.org), New York City.

 

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Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


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Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
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