As Northeast headquarters for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center in Waltham, Mass., houses irreplaceable federal documents, including Revolutionary War military service records, early federal population censuses for all states, and passenger arrival records for many East Coast and Gulf Coast ports.
When the Murphy building’s EPDM roof began to fail badly, it became critical in 2009 to find a new roof that not only would protect this facility and its precious contents against future roof leaks but would also be energy efficient.
At the same time, the General Service Administration (GSA) had been anxious to utilize renewable energy roofing technology and was looking for a facility within the GSA inventory nationally that met the criteria of need, size, and site. The Murphy federal record center, it turned out, fit all the necessary requirements.
The GSA chose Sika Sarnafil’s EnergySmart Roof system, in conjunction with a compatible Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) Solar electric roofing system. Silktown Roofing Inc., of South Grafton, Mass., was the roofing contractor.
The EnergySmart Roof has a highly reflective thermoplastic membrane that exceeds cool roofing requirements for ENERGY STAR, LEED, Green Globes and California’s Title 24. The EnergySmart Roof membrane also features a proven performance history, superior fire ratings, and heat-welded seams for watertight protection.
Sika Sarnafil’s roofing solution met GSA mandates calling for high durability (given building equipment load and anticipated maintenance foot traffic) and the latest in Energy Star (EPA) cool roof technology to maximize system payback through energy savings.
The BIPV solar roofing system consists of a series of 10 x 40 foot solar electric roof panels – each of which has 12 flexible photovoltaic modules. When installation was completed in 2009, it was the largest BIPV installation in the federal government.
Controlling humidity is a key to protecting historic documents and this capability has been greatly improved since the new roof was installed. It was calculated that power generated by the BIPV will replace almost 50 percent of the power the building had been drawing from the local utility. Since the building had typically used one million kilowatt hours, it is being conservatively estimated that the roof will generate 488,000 kilowatt hours per year.
In addition to saving the GSA about $67,000 per year in electrical costs (and at times generating income on peak demand days when extra power can be sold to the local utility), the BIPV system will also result in substantial greenhouse gas reductions.
It is estimated that a roof generating 488,000 kilowatts of electrical power every year typically reduces greenhouse gases by 709 pounds of nitrogen oxide, 1,783 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 423,404 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. The new roof will also improve indoor air quality by protecting against leaks and mold, and also decrease operating costs for heating and cooling equipment, due to the increased insulation and reflectivity of the new roof.
This new roof was an opportunity to safeguard irreplaceable documents, save energy and help the environment.
Jay Thomas is marketing director for Sika Sarnafil. Thomas can be reached at [email protected] or 800.451.2504.
To visit the Sika Sarnafil website, click here.