Metal: Good for the Earth & Your Bottom Line

May 1, 2024

Great Looks are Just the Beginning
Building Owners Enjoy Many Benefits When Retrofitting with Metal

Retrofit Metal Roof and Wall Systems are ideal for updating a building and gaining decades of dependability and durability against the elements.

For walls, metal panels can bring architectural quality to the curb appeal of your building. Design options are endless, from color, texture, shapes and patterns that bring new life to a building, not to mention improved, long-lasting protection. Some of the world’s most prestigious brands from Porsche to Louis Vuitton have chosen metal to capture their brand essence.

When it’s time to replace a commercial roof, a metal roof retrofit is often the best solution. A metal roof can accommodate most any building style, ranging from low-slope functional systems for discharge or diversion of roof rainwater to high-slope architectural applications that upgrade the building’s aesthetic and appraised values.

Metal roofing has a longer life and requires less maintenance than other roof types and leads to significant lifetime savings for commercial building owners. In some cases, a metal roof will last longer than the building it covers, up to 60 years. Building owners can also take advantage of retrofit systems to correct any existing roof geometry that may be causing problems with roof drainage. There are retrofit systems that have been lab tested and proven to add purlin capacity allowing for the weight of the new roof system and more.

Less Disruption / Faster Installation
Roof replacement can be daunting, especially if the old roof needs to be removed. Removing a roof will probably involve interrupting operations for building tenants. Commercial roof retrofits allow business operations to continue uninterrupted since the original roof remains in place. With metal, installing a new roof right over the existing roof eliminates the time and expense required to remove the old roof (where local code allows). Retrofitting the existing roof eliminates the labor and expense of removal and disposal fees which can be exceptionally steep.

Solar photovoltaics (PV) has been a rapidly growing energy sector in the U.S. and globally, with strong growth forecast for the foreseeable future. In addition to its environmental benefits, solar PV is a sound investment, providing carbon-free electricity at lower costs than fossil fuels. Whether you are considering solar now or may in the future, metal roofing provides the foundation for solar when the time comes. Standing seam metal roofing is ideal for solar panels by allowing for a zero-penetration installation system. Additionally, highly reflective roofs help keep rooftop temperatures cool, resulting in better performance from solar panels.

Reduced Energy Costs 
Retrofit metal walls offer many benefits such as durability and aesthetics with lightweight materials, which means little or no alteration to existing structural elements. 
Metal wall panels use high-performance coating systems with long-lasting fade-gloss retention, and come in a wide range of substrates, colors, and textures. Choose from among preformed metal, Insulated Metal Panels (IMP), Metal Composite Material (MCM), or solar thermal walls to allow for maximum solar heat recovery.

On the roof, retrofitting lets you reduce energy costs by adding insulation between the old roof and the new roof. Even incorporating an air space between new and old roofs has energy energy-saving advantages by venting the cavity. Metal roofs with cool paint pigments reflect the sun’s energy to dissipate heat, helping to keep a building cooler. Saving on heating and cooling costs year-round.

Tax Incentives
In addition to energy savings, taxpayers can receive a tax deduction of $2.50-$5.00 per sq. ft. depending on the amount of energy saved with a retrofit. A $2.50 deduction is available for meeting a 25% reduction in site energy use intensity (EUI). The deduction increases on a sliding scale by $0.10 for each additional 1% improvement up to a maximum of $5.00 per sq. ft. Energy savings (i.e., EUI reduction) is based on a measurement of the building’s actual energy use over the 12-month periods before and after the energy savings measures are installed.

Fire & Wind Resistance 
Metal roofs are fire-resistant and deliver a safer alternative to most common roofing materials. Metal roofing materials are all non-combustible and are no more likely to be struck by lightning than other types of roofing.

A new metal roof system can also be designed to the most current and governing wind and gravity load code requirements. FEMA in its Mitigation Assessment Team Report (MAT) found metal roofs performed far better, in nearly all cases in Hurricane Ian, the costliest hurricane to ever hit Florida.

Buildings owners may find lower insurance costs with a metal roof as well.

Photo courtesy of ATAS International

The retrofit of Lafayette College’s Bushkill Commons is an example of adaptive building reuse, utilizing sustainable design, products, and energy efficiency. Two additions housing the stairs and elevators were detailed to complement the existing structure while maintaining their own identity. Insulated Metal Panels were installed in these unconditioned spaces assisting in keeping the spaces at a comfortable level when people use them to move between the building levels.

In summary, retrofitting with metal is an effective renovation strategy with aesthetic and performance benefits. Whether boosting the integrity of the building envelope and/or updating the look of an older building to compete with newer buildings on the market, metal roofing retrofits are a financially sound strategy. Metal retrofit has been a quick, cost-effective solution for problematic roof geometry, maintenance issues, and outdated appearance. In more recent years, thermal efficiency and energy savings are the hallmarks of a retrofit roof application. Retrofitting has become an intricate part of building repurposing and renovation.

About the Author

Partner Content

Partner Content is submitted by our advertisers and does not represent the views of BUILDINGS or its publisher, Endeavor Business Media. Content may be edited for clarity and style.

About the Author

Partner Content

Partner Content is submitted by our advertisers and does not represent the views of BUILDINGS or its publisher, Endeavor Business Media. Content may be edited for clarity and style.

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