“Sustainable development.” “Building green.” These terms have become so common in the construction industry vernacular that we can sometimes lose sight of what green actually means and why it is so important. What is green building? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, green or sustainable building is the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance demolition and disposal.
At its core, a green building has characteristics that, by virtue of its very existence, maximize positive impacts while minimizing the negative ones—from construction all the way through the end of the building’s useful life. These characteristics are measured against three main criteria: the environmental impact, the economic impact, and health and community impact. Custom metal buildings are a great choice to fulfill these goals—from building site impacts and reduced energy usage to responsible material usage and indoor environmental quality.
According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 39% of carbon dioxide emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% of water consumption and 15% of GDP per year. In light of these statistics, stricter codes and new standards calling for increased use of green building materials, as well as the AIA 2030 Challenge to create carbon neutral and net-zero energy buildings, choosing building materials carefully is imperative in protecting the environment…and your business.
Star Building Systems has the metal building products and expertise to help meet ambitious green building goals. Here are some key aspects of green building where the custom metal building process in general, and Star Building Systems specifically, stand out.
Star’s metal roof and wall panels consist of a minimum of 25% post-consumer recycled material, and structural members can contain 30 – 50% or higher post-consumer recycled material. By using Star’s insulated metal panels, you can often reduce the amount of structural support needed for a building envelope due to the strength of the IMPs versus single skin systems.
Star has manufacturing companies strategically located throughout the United States, maximizing the amount of material manufactured within a 500-mile radius of most points in the U.S.
For building owners, operators and architects looking to enhance the performance of or obtain LEED Certification on an existing building, Star’s NuRoof® Retrofit Roofing System is a smart option. NuRoof is a light-gauge framing system oftentimes utilizing Star’s metal roof panels, which helps increase the thermal efficiency of a building, offers a sloped roof system to enhance the aesthetics of a building and improve water runoff, and is designed to meet wind load requirements. A 2007 USCOE technical bulletin points out that 7 to 10 percent of U.S. landfill space has gone to roofing waste over the last 40 years. Since NuRoof typically goes right over an existing roof without removing all of it, this impact is minimized.
Star offers cool roofing colors on all metal roof panels. When used on an appropriate building and site, a cool roof can reduce energy consumption, providing significant cost savings in many parts of the country, while helping to mitigate urban heat islands. Metal roofs also work well for rainwater harvesting.
Insulated metal panels (IMPs) provide effective insulation systems for buildings and have long-term impacts on the environment due to their ability to reduce energy use. Depending on the application, IMPs can provide significant HVAC energy cost savings on your bill over traditional systems. Also, the lower peak heating and cooling loads experienced when using insulated panel systems can reduce the required capacity of the HVAC systems, resulting in up-front cost savings by utilizing smaller equipment.
Star Building Systems’ metal roofs provide an ideal substrate for solar arrays and offer unique environmental and performance advantages. The flat surfaces incorporated into various roof panel profiles allows Star to support two Photovoltaic Technology (PV) offerings, including glass-based crystalline silicon and flexible thin film. Existing and new metal roofs make ideal substrates for PV systems since they can be installed without roof penetrations.
Star metal roof and wall panels allow owners low maintenance costs due to the durability of our products. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), metal roofs last between 40 and 60 years. Properly designed metal roofs will also withstand strong winds and snow loads. The strength of Star IMPs is beneficial as they are also fire, wind, hail, water, insect and rodent resistant.
Star’s metal roof and wall panels, structural members and other accessories composed of metal are virtually 100% recyclable when removed from a building, as opposed to many conventional non-metal construction materials, which are taken to landfills. According to AISI, steel is the most recycled material in North America, with an annual average recycling rate of 70%. Furthermore, new steel made with recycled material uses as little as 26% of the amount of energy required to manufacture steel from iron and other naturally extracted materials.