San Francisco has long been known as a center for culture and the performing arts. Showcased by its War Memorial Opera House, considered the last Beaux Arts building constructed in the United States, this legacy continued with construction of the adjoining Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. Opened in 1980 and renovated in 1992, its modern design was a collaboration of architects and acoustical engineers working in concert to create an intimate environment to enhance the music of the San Francisco Symphony and the beauty of the structure itself.
Recently, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) determined that installing a photovoltaic (PV) solar system on Davies Symphony Hall would benefit the people of San Francisco. The SFPUC retained engineering consultant AEPC of San Ramon, Calif., to design the PV solar system for the 25,000-sf roof.
In addition to AEPC, the project team for the roof revitalization and PV solar system installation included Technical Roof Services (TRS) of Concord, Calif., and Fidelity Roof Company of Oakland, a Duro-Last® Certified Elite Contractor.
Moisture Issues Necessitated New Game Plan
Initially, the installation of a rooftop solar energy system seemed to be straightforward. However, upon further inspection, significant moisture issues were discovered in the underlying roof insulation, contributing to deteriorating conditions in the 14-year-old tar and gravel roof.
Davies Symphony Hall. Photo: Duro-Last Roofing
To further assess the roof’s condition, AEPC brought in Technical Roof Services (TRS) to conduct a more thorough evaluation. According to Venk Mani of AEPC, “We knew the roof had some leaks and wanted to correct any problem areas before the solar panels were installed. Our goal was to ensure that the roof could last the life of the solar array, or a minimum of 25 years.”
Presenting the Options to Ready Roof for PV Solar
Dregger presented the two available options to the SFPUC: either tear off the current roof and install a new one, or overlay the existing roof with a new membrane. After careful consideration, the SFPUC opted to re-cover the existing roof since replacing the old roof with a new one would take longer and interfere with the symphony’s rehearsal and performance schedule. After evaluating the available membrane alternatives, Dregger recommended a white 60 mil thick thermoplastic PVC roof system from Duro-Last Roofing.
Material Prefabrication Expedited Installation
Prefabrication was another advantage of the Duro-Last Roofing System. The membrane was prefabricated into 22 foot wide rolls, reducing the application time and on-site welding. In addition the penetration flashings, parapet wall membrane, membrane curbs, solar hold down boots and other related roof materials were all custom fabricated at the factory. This not only assured installation accuracy at changes in plane on the roof, such as projections, curbs, drains, perimeters and abutting walls, but of equal importance was Fidelity Roof Company’s ability to expedite the installation process and meet critical deadlines.
Location: San Francisco
Client: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Contractor: Fidelity Roof Company
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