The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design Lives Up to its Name

The Kendeda Building is engineered to produce more energy than it consumes and capture rainwater for collection in an underground cistern for reuse. Photo: Jonathan Hillyer

When the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) decided to design its new building as a “Living Building,” the project team knew they had to be extremely thoughtful in their design choices and building materials selections. The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most ambitious green building program and requires that projects meet 20 rigorous performance requirements throughout the construction process and for a full year after completion. Made possible through a partnership with the Kendeda Fund, the new Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design is the first academic and research building in the Southeast to attempt this certification and is designed to use one-third the energy of a comparable building.

With a combination of great insulation, energy-efficient systems, and a rooftop solar array, the 46,800-square-foot Kendeda Building is engineered to actually produce more energy than it consumes. The roof is also designed to capture rainwater for collection into a 50,000-gallon underground cistern where it is filtered for reuse throughout the building, including as drinking water. The building’s roof is also host to a 1,000-square-foot accessible roof deck and a 4,300-square-foot rooftop garden with a honeybee apiary, pollinator garden, and blueberry orchard.

The photovoltaic array is comprised of 913 solar modules covering approximately 15,860 square feet of area, with a total capacity of 330 kW. It forms a floating canopy above the building. The panels will tilt from the horizontal plane by 5 degrees to face south. This slight adjustment increases solar exposure and improves drainage.

Multi-Functional Roof

As you can imagine, a roof with so many functions demands the use of only the most exacting roofing products. The project team chose a 3-inch base layer of non-halogenated polyiso roof insulation to cover nearly the entire roof and approximately 13,000 square feet of thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane. GAF supplied the polyiso insulation and 60-mil EverGuard Extreme TPO roof system for the project, and it was installed by Roof Management Inc., headquartered in Norcross, Georgia.

The solar array forms a floating canopy above the building. The panels tilt to increase solar exposure and improve drainage. Photo: Vertical River

The design team also chose to direct rainwater into capture systems by the judicious use of tapered insulation over the flat material, which created the proper rooftop slope and drainage.

Even without this water catchment system, tapered insulation can be a very beneficial design feature for low-slope roofs. Ponding or standing water can add enormous stress to a building’s roof and lead to premature failure of roofing materials if water stands on the roof surface for more than 48 hours. If unaddressed, frequent ponding of water can lead to serious problems such as structural deflections of the roof deck, the growth of bacteria or unwanted vegetation on the roof, and can ultimately cause water intrusion into the building that can be costly to remediate. That the Kendeda Building roof can use this design to also collect water for reuse is an added bonus.

The Living Building Challenge specifies that materials in Living Buildings should avoid the use of certain chemicals. Polyiso insulation products manufactured with non-halogenated flame retardants satisfy this challenge while offering superior performance.

  • Polyiso insulation offers superior performance qualities, including:
  • High R-value per inch compared to other types of insulation of equivalent thicknesses.
  • High moisture resistance.
  • Improved fire resistance.
  • Lightweight boards for easy handling and installation.
  • Blowing agents with zero ozone depletion potential and negligible global warming potential.

Beneath its carefully designed roof, the building holds classrooms, laboratories, offices, an auditorium, and a student commons. But the educational mission of the building extends beyond these learning spaces. The entire project — from its low-waste construction to its low-consumption energy use — offers unique learning opportunities for designers, builders, and building operators, such as how a building’s design can conserve energy and water while mitigating a region’s humidity and potential droughts.

Salvaged Material

The Living Building Challenge is organized into seven performance areas — one of which addresses the materials used on a project. New building projects are required to include one salvaged material per 500 square meters of gross building area, which worked out to 10 salvaged materials for the Kendeda Building. These included the following:

The building’s roof features a 1,000-square-foot accessible roof deck and a 4,300-square-foot rooftop garden. Photo Credit: Justin Chan Photography

· Slate shingles: The project acquired a number of pallets of gray slate shingles when the aging roof of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association was renovated. These singles were used as tile on the walls and floors of showers and restrooms.

· Nail-laminated floor decks: 500 10-by-6-foot nail-laminated floor decks were created from two-by-fours salvaged from movie sets, including those form the show “24” and movie “Rampage,” with support from the Georgia Works training program.

· Heart pine joists: 140-year-old Tech Tower provided heart pine joists that serve as treads for the Kendeda Building’s monumental staircase.

· Lumber from felled trees: George Tech’s ground crew helped by collecting fallen trees across the campus, which were then turned into lumber used to make counters and benches.

· Granite curbs: Atlanta’s old State Archives Building provided granite that was used for curbs in the landscaping.

· Wood boards: A former church in Atlanta was the source of the wood that can be found on some of the decorative wall as well as the lobby’s ramp.

The Living Building was designed by a collaboration between Lord Aeck Sargent and the Miller Hull Partnership, constructed by Skanska, and funded through a $30 million grant from The Kendeda Fund, one of the leading philanthropic investors in civic and environmental programs in the Atlanta area with a commitment to ecological and social causes.

Certification by the Living Building Challenge 3.1 is anticipated in 2021, and the project is also pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification at the Platinum level.

About the author: Justin Koscher is the president of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), a trade association that serves as the voice of the rigid polyisocyanurate insulation industry and a proactive advocate for safe, cost-effective, sustainable and energy-efficient construction. For more information, visit www.polyiso.org.

TEAM

Architects: Lord Aeck Sargent, Atlanta, Georgia, www.lordaecksargent.com; and The Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle, Washington, www.millerhull.com

General Contractor: Skanska USA, Atlanta, Georgia, www.usa.skanska.com

Roofing Contractor: Roof Management Inc., Norcross, Georgia, www.roofmanagementinc.com

MATERIALS

TPO Membrane: EverGuard Extreme 60-mil TPO, GAF, www.GAF.com

Insulation: EnergyGuard Non-halogenated (NH) Polyiso Roof Insulation Board and EnergyGuard NH Tapered Polyiso Roof Insulation, GAF

Vapor Retarder: GAF SA Vapor Retarder, GAF

Insulation Adhesive: OlyBond500 Insulation Adhesive, OMG Roofing Products, www.OMGroofing.com

Cover Board: 1/2-inch DensDeck, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Solar Panels: X-Series X22-360-COM, SunPower, https://us.sunpower.com

The Calcaire House Meets Strict Energy Codes — and Does it in Style

The residential compound is made up of five interconnected buildings and features both gabled standing seam metal roofs and low-slope TPO roofs. Photos: S-5!

The Calcaire House is a 15,000-square-foot modern Colorado single-family residential compound consisting of five interconnected buildings. Floor-to-ceiling glass connects the interior space to the exterior landscape, offering spectacular views of the Boulder Flatirons. A combination of exposed timber, stone and steel structural design elements, and exposed custom roof trusses complement the gabled standing seam metal roof.

Boulder Roofing Company and The Solar Revolution were charged with installing a metal roof and solar array with more than 60 kilowatts of solar dispersed over multiple rooftops. Boulder Roofing installed both standing seam metal and TPO roof systems on the project. Crews installed approximately 12,000 square feet of 14-inch, 24-gauge panels from Drexel Metals in traditional black over Titanium PSU30 high-temp peel and stick underlayment.

They also installed 3,000 square feet of 60-mil Versico TPO over low-slope areas. The TPO was adhered to quarter-inch DensDeck Prime over tapered EPS insulation. Boulder Roofing fabricated and installed custom flashings and coping, and also installed an S-5! snow-guard system incorporating the S-5! ColorGard bars, S-5-S Mini clamps, SnoClip IIs, and VersaClips.

The Energy Challenge

The city of Boulder has strict energy codes in place and requires all new construction to meet a certain level of efficiency. The requirements are based on the square footage of the home and are more stringent on larger homes — the larger the home, the more efficient it needs to be. The goal is to have a net-zero home, not taking energy from the grid, and the only way for a larger home to achieve this is with solar. A modest home or small addition might only require about 2 kilowatts. A large home might require 20-30 kilowatts.

The most optimal rooftops for solar were also the most visually prominent, and the homeowner was concerned about aesthetics. These concerns were alleviated after seeing a small-scale mock-up of the S-5! PVKIT 2.0 solution combined with an all-black solar module.

In addition, the area is considered a high-wind area and would require a study to account for windspeeds, as the solar installers could only rely on the roof itself and its attachment to the wood sheeting when attaching solar panels using S-5!’s zero-penetration system.

Another difficulty was finding a viable path to route the energy created by the solar panels back to the point of connection with the home’s distribution. The Solar Revolution worked with the builder and the architect, and analyzed photos and design plans to find ways to conceal the conduits. They ultimately found a viable path that was aesthetically pleasing, code compliant and cost-effective.

The Solution

The Solar Revolution installers utilized S-5!’s PVKIT 2.0 to build the solar array. The installation team started at ground level prepping S-5! PVKIT MidGrabs and EdgeGrabs. Another team member prepared the solar modules by installing the power optimizers and managing the various wires. By completing this work on the ground, the roof crew could focus on setting modules, and it minimized their time in harnesses on a steep metal roof. The solar installers prefer to install modules starting with the bottom row and working up. Extra care is taken when aligning the first row. This precision allows for subsequent rows to drop into place on the S-5! PVKIT MidGrabs.

The Solar Revolution installed a solar array that provides more than 60 kilowatts of power.

“The Solar Revolution has been utilizing the S-5! PVKIT 2.0 solution since it first hit the market,” says Doug Claxton, CEO of The Solar Revolution. “Hands down, it is the best solar mounting solution for metal roofing of any description. At first, we were a little worried about wire management and installing in landscape, but those worries were overcome with our first installation. It’s a piece of cake.”

Long-Term Outlook

With the S-5! PVKIT 2.0, the Calcaire House was able to meet the city code requirements for solar and establish itself as an energy-efficient, net-zero home. Because the PVKIT comes in black, it matched the roof nicely, pulling together all of the design elements in an aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective manner — saving the customer time and money on installation and materials.

TEAM

Architect: Surround Architecture, Boulder, Colorado, www.surroundarchitecture.com

General Contractor: Harrington Stanko Construction, Niwot, Colorado, www.harringtonstanko.com

Engineer: Anthem Structural Engineers, Boulder, Colorado, www.anthemstructural.com

Roofing Contractor: Boulder Roofing Company, Boulder, Colorado, www.boulderroof.com

Solar Installer: The Solar Revolution, Boulder, Colorado, www.thesolarrevolution.com

MATERIALS

Metal Roof: 175SS 14-inch, 24 gauge panels, Drexel Metals, www.drexmet.com

Underlayment: Titanium PSU30, Owens Corning, www.owenscorning.com

TPO Roof: 60-mil Grey TPO, Versico, www.versico.com

Cover Board: DensDeck Prime, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Solar Attachment: S-5! PVKIT 2.0 in black with S-5-S Mini Clamps, www.S-5.com

Snow Guards: S-5! ColorGard, S-5-S Mini Clamps, SnowClipIIs and VersaClips

Installing Tubular Skylights on Cement and Clay Tile Roofs

Elite Solar Systems installed six tubular skylights and solar-powered attic fans, incorporating them into the existing tile roof of this 3,900-square-foot Gilbert home. Photos: Elite Solar Systems

Installing tubular skylights, or solar tubes, can add a profit niche for any roofing company and provide a lifestyle enhancement for existing and new clients.

“Tubular skylights allow natural light in to brighten rooms and offices during the day without the need for an electrical light source,” explains Jovane Estrada, general manager for Elite Solar Lighting & Fans, based in Chandler, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix. “They can be retrofitted into any existing roof system and placed where windows or traditional skylights are not options.”

In the desert Southwest, cement or clay tiles on pitched rooftops are a popular choice by owners of upscale homes. Recently, Estrada’s team installed six tubular skylights and solar-powered attic fans on a 3,900-square-foot two-story home built in 2009 with cement tiles in Gilbert, Arizona.

In 2001, the company began offering high-quality residential and commercial tubular skylights, solar-powered attic fans and garage exhaust fans. The parent manufacturing company, Southwest Metal Spinning, was founded 26 years ago by Estrada’s father, Saul, and brother, Juan. The components for the Elite product are made in the same location.

Typical tubular skylight components include a high-impact acrylic dome, which locks into a ring on the 1100-O aluminum flashing; this seals to a flat or pitched rooftop, protecting against rain and cracking. Beneath this, an acrylic diffusing lens connects to highly reflective anodized tubing leading to the ceiling, where it fits into a three-glazed polycarbonate diffuser.

For the Gilbert home, Elite installed a 10-inch-diameter tubular skylight with a bathroom exhaust fan kit and light kit; a 10-inch-diameter tubular skylight through the garage into a downstairs bathroom where the skylight was installed on a wall; four 13-inch-diamter tubular skylights with synchronized dimmers, which open and close the solar lights at the same time and position; two solar-powered attic fans; and a solar-powered garage exhaust fan.

“Experienced professionals can install a tubular skylight with any roof penetration,” Estrada says. “If they can cut and seal roof flashing on the tile roof, they should know or learn how to install the tubular skylight fairly easily, and your clients can enjoy new light and the peace of mind knowing the job has been done right.”

Cement Tile Challenges

The tools required for a cement or clay tile installation are minimal: safety googles; gloves; stud finder; measuring tape; pencil; drill gun; ladder; reciprocating saw to cut wood deck; grinder to cut roof tiles; caulk gun for sealant; drywall saw; tin snips; utility knife; and plumb bob/laser.

Of course, installing tubular skylights through cement tiles requires following the basic steps for any roof breach.

To avoid damage to clay tiles, unless a roofer has a great deal of experience walking on them, Estrada recommends that the tiles be removed from walk areas on the roof up to where the tubular skylight will be installed.

“Make sure the install is possible — and sometimes it isn’t, at least exactly where the client wants it — and have the appropriate tools and materials available,” Estrada says.

Next, mark where the tubular skylight is to be placed and check in the attic or crawl space for plumbing pipes and vents, wires, trusses, HVAC heat pumps and ductwork, water pipes and roof valleys that might be obstructive. “If there is an obstacle, the challenge is determining if using tubular skylight adjustable elbows will allow the install to be completed,” he says.

With the attic inspection and cuts done, an aluminum tile skirt and pitched flashing must be installed properly to the deck. “Most roofers do not use a tile skirt for tile roofs, and later a leak can damage the paper underneath the tiles,” Estrada says. He recommends applying a premium flexible sealant (supplied) to the flashing.

In this home, the central challenge was installing the tubular skylight on the roof through and into the first-floor bathroom, without disturbing the second floor just above it. “We knew we had to go through the side wall of the bathroom, but we had to make sure we had the room in the attic and inside the adjacent garage to install the tube on the sidewall,” he explains.

To do this, the 90-degree adjustable elbows were needed to be able to make the turn from having the tube travel straight down into the inside of the garage and then shift direction into the bathroom, Estrada says.

“This kind of installation requires more effort and time,” Estrada says, “but the result is that a lower level, even a basement, can be enhanced with more natural light.”

All Ups, No Downs, for Roofers, Clients

For the roofer and the homeowner, the best time to install a tubular skylight (other than at construction) is during a roof replacement or repair. The attic space and roof are open and accessible and can be sealed along with the new roof or repair. But as this case study shows, most retrofits can be easily completed, too.

“It’s an extra income stream and an incentive for customers to choose your company,” Estrada says. For example, one of Elite’s roofer clients offers a free 10-inch tubular skylight with each signed re-roofing contract.

With these, home- and business-owners light up their homes, garages, offices, hallways, bathrooms and warehouses. And, tubular skylights also offer lifestyle benefits for pets, plants and people, Estrada says. “They’ve been reported to improve a person’s mood, and the owner of this home in Gilbert told us they’ve simply changed his life.”

About the author: David M. Brown has been writing books and articles for newspapers, magazines, ezines, websites and businesses for many years. A graduate of LaSalle University and Temple University in native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is the father of two grown children, Shaun and Sheena, who live near him in the Phoenix area.

TEAM

Tubular Skylight Installer: Elite Solar Systems, Chandler, Arizona, www.elitesolarsystems.com

MATERIALS

Tubular Skylights: 10-inch Elite Tubular Skylight, 13-inch Elite Tubular Skylight, Elite Solar Systems

Attic Fans: 20-Watt Elite Solar Attic Fan

Tips for Tubular Skylights

Once the vertical pitched flashing is sealed and fastened properly on the roof deck, place the aluminum tile flashing over the pitched flashing, with the EPDM rubber facing down toward flashing. Fold the sides of the aluminum tile flashing and make sure flashing goes over the bottom tiles.

1. Follow the step-by-step instruction manual, supplied with the tubular skylight. Call the manufacturer and ask questions, if necessary.

2. Use all of the parts included with the tubular skylight kit. “Typically, when a part is left out, it is because the installer or roofer does not know its function,” Estrada says. “Leaving out a part can cause condensation issues, dust or bugs to enter the unit, a rainbow (distracting prism) effect on the interior of the home or other issues down the line.”

3. Quality and safety are paramount: Tested and certified products ensure your clients that the units will last through the harshest weather. Check products for certification by the International Code Council (ICC). Secondly, quality products offer UV-protection plastic, which inhibits fading of interiors. And, for installers, find out if the tubular skylights adhere to OSHA fall-protection standards.

The roof install is complete, with the tiles back in place. Notice that you can see the aluminum tile flashing toward the bottom of the tiles. Both the flashing and the aluminum tile flashing can be painted to blend in with roof.

4. For condensation control, the skylight must breathe, so don’t place sealant between the dome assembly and the roof flashing. This will cause condensation buildup.

5. For condensation, dust and bug issues, seal any gaps between the ceiling kit and the light tube as well as the light tube and the flashing with tape or spray-foam insulation, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

6. Offer no-leak guarantees to fully back your work for your customers. As a respected roofing company, you offer warrantied materials and installation. Look for that, too, in the tubular skylights you install.

Skylight Design Lets Glass Take the Spotlight

Good skylight design and project integration can mean a product not only provides light and possible ventilation — it also can make a statement as a strong aesthetic component.
Photo: Wasco

Skylights continue to gain recognition as energy-efficient daylight harvesting devices. When properly specified, proportioned, located and installed, skylights can meet the latest editions of national model energy conservation and green building codes and rating systems. Beyond the concerns of daylighting and thermal performance, skylights also must serve as a viable element of the building envelope.

Consequently, given the growing use of large, complex sloped glazing systems, design criteria for skylights and sloped glazing  are undergoing rapid creative evolution, as are the codes — primarily the International Building Code (IBC) — governing their application. In some cases, best practice can be to consider requirements in excess of those in the codes. Sloped glazing is defined in building codes as those where glass is inclined 15 degrees or more from vertical.

Potential Breakage is Key

Proper glass selection and system design is intended to meet specified design load(s), with the primary goal of reducing the probability of glass breakage, which can pose risks to people and property.

Breakage may occur due to several factors, either alone or in combination, some of which are noted below:

  • Loads in excess of the specified design loads
  • Large thermal stresses
  • Damage to the glass during handling or installation
  • Forces exerted by the framing system
  • Vandalism
  • Wind-borne gravel or other debris
  • Large hailstones
  • Impurities in the glass causing spontaneous fracture
Proper glass selection and system design must meet specified design load(s), with the primary goal of reducing the probability of glass breakage, which can pose risks to people and property. Photo: CrystaLite

The differences in design considerations between vertical and sloped glazing must be considered. For example, sloped glass is more susceptible to impact from falling objects than vertical glass. Sloped glazing is also more likely to fall from its opening when it breaks than vertical glass.

Typically, the preferred practice for glass selection in skylights and sloped glazing is to provide firm support for all edges of the glass for both inward (positive) and outward (negative) loads. This is mandatory for insulating glass units. The support may be by conventional channel glazing or by structural retention with a silicone sealant.

Design Considerations

Glazed systems require special glass design considerations. Designers and architects must orchestrate the use of such industry and regulatory standards and guidelines, as ASTM E1300-16,Standard Practice for Determining Load Resistance of Glass in Buildings,” ASCE/SEI 7,Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures,” and others, as well as the IBC and International Residential Code (IRC).

Glazed systems of skylights often require special glass design considerations when designing for things like structure, thermal design and control of solar heat gain. Designers and architects must orchestrate the use of industry and regulatory standards and guidelines. Photos: FGIA

Once the 2021 edition of the IBC is adopted, new code language in IBC Section 2405.1, 2405.3 will clarify that screens are not required below skylights and sloped glazing when 30-mil interlayer laminated glass is used. The use of 30 mil-laminated glass in skylights improves daylighting, aesthetics, and helps protect building occupants, along with eliminating the need for screens.

Other design considerations are outlined below.

Strength

At base, the selection of glass for skylights and sloped glazing begins with the use of ASTM E1300, which uses a failure prediction model with the glass strength based on weathered glass. This takes into account a rational reduction in glass strength from initial production to in-service use. The procedure determines if the proposed glass type (annealed, heat-strengthened, fully tempered or laminated) will meet the specified load, allowing it to be determined whether to consider either a thinner or thicker glass.

A skylight is an integral part of the building envelope, controlling the movement of moisture and air. Photos: FGIA

ASTM E1300 supplies load resistance charts for a glass probability of breakage of eight per 1000, as this is considered practical and reasonable for most glass applications. The designer should aim for a low probability of breakage, but if breakage does occur, the consequences must be acceptable.

ASCE/SEI 7 lists formulas for calculating the equivalent combined pressure due to a combination of dead, wind, snow and other loads, as does Chapter 24 of the IBC. For common shapes of buildings, background guidance on design wind velocities may be found in ASCE/SEI 7 — with a caveat: buildings of unusual shape or geometry may render that standard inadequate for defining loads on sloped glazing and skylights.

Load Duration

The strength of glass is a function of load duration. Long duration loads, or any load lasting approximately 30 days, such as snow loads, must be treated differently than short duration loads, defined as any load lasting three seconds or less, such as wind loads.

Surface Damage

Mechanical damage to the surface of glass, as opposed to weathering, can cause a significant reduction in glass strength.

Thermal stress happens where there is a mix of heavy sunlight and shade. Glass must accommodate these changes. Photo: CrystaLite

Flat glass surfaces inherently have numerous, randomly occurring, microscopic flaws, resulting in widely varying strengths among otherwise identical lites. (A lite is a pane of glass or an insulating glass unit used in a window, door, tubular daylighting device, roof window, secondary storm product or unit skylight.)

So, the strength of glass exposed to transient and static loads must be analyzed on a statistical basis. This may be expressed in various ways, one of which is the coefficient of variation, a measure of the distribution of the glass strength for a large number of lites. It is influenced by the degree of heat treatment of the glass, being highest (0.25) for annealed and lowest for fully tempered glass (0.10) due to surface compression of the latter. This minimizes the tendency of surface flaws to propagate under load and cause glass breakage.

Impact From Wind-Borne Items

Limiting deflection of the frame is important. Care should be taken not to bow or distort the frame due to over-compaction of insulation. Photos: FGIA

The ability of fenestration of all types to resist such impacts is especially important in areas where high wind events, such as hurricanes, regularly occur. Building codes or other regulations in these areas frequently require that fenestration products either be rated as impact-resistant or be protected by impact-resistant devices. Resistance to hail impact — especially applicable to skylights — is a special case of impact resistance. Here, FM 4431, “Approval Standard for Skylights,” is often the governing standard.

Thermal Stress

Differential thermal expansion between framing and glazing, as well as between exposed and shaded areas of a given lite, must be accommodated through appropriate glass bite dimensions and selection of proper sealant, as well as glass type. For most orientations, the temperature that sloped glass may reach is usually higher than for vertical glazing due to the sun’s radiation being oriented more directly to the glass surface. Consequently, thermal stresses created in the glass most often require heat treated glass (heat-strengthened or fully tempered).

Edge Strength

Both the design of the skylight system and the integration into the structure of the building take careful consideration to ensure water is controlled and drained away properly. It is imperative in all glazing systems that water infiltration and condensation be drained or weeped away from edges of the glass and away from the skylight system.

The quality of the glass cutting and the edge finish are critical variables. For example, good quality, clean cut glass edges have an average strength of about 4650 psi (32 MPa) and a predicted failure of 1 percent at about 2,400 psi (16 MPa). For very poorly cut, nipped or damaged edges, the average strength may be in the range of 1,200-1,500 psi (8-10 MPa).

Frame Deflection Limits

A supported glass edge should have an edge deflection limited by the framing member to no greater than L/175 where “L” is the length of the glass edge and the deflection is determined by the displacement of the framing member along the edge.

Water Drainage

It is imperative in all glazing systems that water infiltration and condensation be drained or weeped away from the edges of the glass. This is to prevent detrimental freezing of the water or deleterious effects of moisture on edge seals of insulating glass, or possible debonding of interlayer material in laminated glass. The framing system must always drain the water from the lowest point of the glazing channel and the lowest point of the framing system.

All these design considerations and more, as well as guidance in applying them, are detailed in AAMA GDSG-1, Glass Design Guide for Sloped Glazing and Skylights, published by the Fenestration and Glass Industry Alliance (FGIA). Other published FGIA resources include the following.

  • AAMA SDGS-1-89, “Structural Design Guidelines for Aluminum Framed Skylights”
  • AAMA TIR-A7-11, “Sloped Glazing Guidelines”
  • AAMA TIR-A11-15, “Maximum Allowable Deflection of Framing Systems for Building Cladding Components at Design Wind Loads”
  • IGMA TB-3001, “Guidelines for Sloped Glazing”

All are available at aamanet.org/store.

About the author: Glenn Ferris is the Fenestration and Glass Industry Alliance’s (FGIA’s) Fenestration Standards Specialist. He began his career with the association in 2018. He has extensive experience in the fenestration industry dating back to 1992. Ferris is a liaison for many councils, committees and study/work/task groups guiding them in the completion of the scope of each group.

A Talented Team and the Right Products Secure Massive 1.32 MW Solar Array

Replacements, Ltd.’s facility in in Greensboro, North Carolina, is topped by a 200,000-square-foot array of photovoltaic panels. Photos: S-5!

Replacements Ltd., based in Greensboro, North Carolina, touts itself as the world’s largest retailer of china, crystal and silver. The company specializes in locating and supplying hard-to-find and discontinued patterns. Their flagship location houses approximately 12 million items from around 450,000 patterns, and their arena-sized warehouse spans eight football fields.

Always proponents of sustainability, Replacements Ltd. is also an avid practitioner of recycling throughout the facility. The company’s very business model, after all, is predicated on locating and preserving difficult-to-procure fine china and collectibles. Taking this green approach one step further, Replacements Ltd. embraced renewable energy by embarking on a solar panel project for the facility’s rooftop.

Replacements Ltd. had long considered solar power, so when the company expanded into a larger facility, the standing seam metal roof was designed to sustain the additional weight of solar panels.

The Solar Installer and the Distributor

Hoping to offset more than 30 percent of the facility’s total energy use, Replacements Ltd. sought out a company that specialized in large-scale rooftop PV array installation. Such an undertaking meant many qualified companies would be vying for the project. Ultimately though, the competition could not match the stellar reputation, high recommendations, and overall value of Yes Solar Solutions (YSS). The company won the contract.

S-5-H clamps from S-5! were used to support the racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system. The design of the non-penetrating clamp allows it to be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.

Kathy Miller, co-founder and CEO of Yes Solar Solutions in Cary, North Carolina, was enthusiastic about Replacements Ltd.’s plans for solar expansion. To Kathy and her husband Stew, this PV project was yet another opportunity for them to achieve what led them into this business in the first place: “preparing the next generation for a sustainable future.” It was also an opportunity to work side-by-side with a company as dedicated to the environment as they are. YSS fully understands the positive impact solar add-ons can have on companies and on their bottom line.

Never having worked with Replacements Ltd. before was no barrier to efficient operations. The team at Yes Solar includes experts in logistics, industry standards, and sourcing the highest quality materials and equipment. To ensure a smooth project timeline, Yes Solar enlisted the services of a distributor the company had successfully worked with on a number of prior occasions.

Design in hand, Yes Solar Solutions went to a trusted source for material acquisition. CivicSolar, with offices in California, Massachusetts, and Texas, offers a full selection of module, inverters, racking, and storage equipment for solar installation. Having partnered on other projects since 2016, Yes Solar’s director of operations, Rob Smith, reached out to CivicSolar looking for racking solutions for an extensive 1.32 MW rooftop project they had in the works. A solar project of this magnitude would require some logistics magic. Yes Solar arranged for all materials to ship directly to the jobsite. Mary Jane Gilliland, Account Manager from CivicSolar, worked closely with Yes Solar to ensure smooth shipments and consistent timelines.

Mounting the Solar Panels

Yes Solar Solutions provided a bill of materials for the project utilizing the IronRidge rail system and S-5! clamps. In order to provide the most advantageous quote for YSS, CivicSolar cooperated with S-5! and IronRidge to produce a pricing and logistical plan that steered Yes Solar towards success.

CivicSolar supplied all necessary metal roof attachment clamps to secure all racking system components and conduit lines for the rail system. During the installation, a plywood walkway was installed to protect the metal roof.

Coordinating lead times for large material quantities, Civic and Yes Solar Solutions worked closely to ensure smooth and predictable timelines on all deliveries involved in the project. All materials were shipped and delivered according to the anticipated timeline and the project was successfully installed on time. According to Stew Miller, co-founder and president of Yes Solar Solutions, “This project was a result of industry support, as the referral came from a utility scaled solar company. When we got the contract, there was a sudden shortage of solar modules, and another solar company helped us source the materials. It was a good example of how solar companies can work together to the benefit of a customer and the industry.”

The solar array on the Replacements Ltd. building needed an attachment solution that would not only ease installation, but also be low cost and lightweight. S-5! non-penetrating clamps achieved these requirements building a strong foundation of savings across the board for the entire project.

During clamp installation, a plywood walkway was also installed to help with crew safety as well as installation efficiency. By facilitating navigation, crews could inspect the roof, perform maintenance, and protect the existing metal roof.

S-5! clamps were selected because they met the demanding specs required by installation, and they have the rigorous testing data to back them up. The racking system components and conduit lines on the rail system are supported with S-5-H clamps. The clamps accommodate metal roof panels with a horizontal seam and do not penetrate the roof. The design of the clamp features two pieces, making it a perfect choice for this project, as it can be installed anywhere along the length of the rib.

Long-Term Outlook

The final result of Replacements Ltd. rooftop solar array project is a sight to see. Spanning three-quarters of the entire surface of the arena-sized shopping facility, or 200,000 square feet, the PV system will help the company save around $100,000 per year in electricity costs. The array is divided into four separate systems, all on the same roof. It is also the largest net-metered project in North Carolina, and excess power can be returned to the grid for credit.

TEAM

Owner: Replacements Ltd., Greensboro, North Carolina, www.replacements.com

Solar Installer: Yes Solar Solutions, Cary, North Carolina, https://yessolarsolutions.com

Distributor: CivicSolar, Boston, Massachusetts, www.civicsolar.com

MATERIALS

Clamps: S-5-H clamps, S-5!, www.s-5.com

Mounting System: IronRidge rail system, IronRidge, www.ironridge.com

GAF Energy Aims to Transform the Residential Solar Industry

Photo: GAF Energy

Earlier this year, Standard Industries launched GAF Energy, a new company with a lofty goal: revolutionizing residential rooftop solar. Working in tandem with GAF, GAF Energy is driving the adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. The business model is designed to tap into the strength of GAF’s network of more than 6,000 certified roofing contractors to offer homeowners a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installation.

“We’ve created GAF Energy to take on roof-integrated solar and bring it to the next level,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “By leveraging GAF’s roofing expertise with GAF Energy’s solar expertise, we’ve created a solar kit designed specifically for roofers and their customers during the re-roof and roof construction process.”

The company believes that by standardizing these integrated solar solutions, they can be more easily installed on residential roof replacements and new construction projects. “By putting everything in a kit, we really simplify the process for a roofer,” DeBono says. “In fact, our target roofing contractor is someone who has never done solar.”

Connecting With Contractors

GAF Energy is currently working with GAF sales teams to identify contractors with residential sales teams that would be good candidates for adopting solar. Initially, the company is focusing on nine states, with plans to expand nationwide. The nine states are California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. Key factors in the consideration of these markets included the climate, the price of electricity, and state and local programs for utility rebates and incentives.

The roof-integrated solar kit is designed to function as part of the roof system and be aesthetically pleasing. Photo: GAF Energy

If contractors seem like they will be a good fit, GAF Energy sets up a multi-pronged training program, which includes classroom training and training in the field for both salespeople and installers. “We have full day of classroom sales training with a professional sales trainer,” DeBono explains. “After contractors complete the sales training in the classroom, we provide field resources for in-home sales training and on-the-roof training. We have field resources that we send out with roofing contractors’ salespeople into the field. Once we have a successful sale, we also provide on-the-roof training for the first installation. All of that is done just for being part of the GAF contractor network because it is our belief that we need to enable a new generation of roofers to sell and install solar.”

According to DeBono, GAF Energy is then able to provide all of the services that roofers typically do not have, including electrical services, design services, and connection services. “If the roofing contractors have the wherewithal to continue the project with the electrical and the design, we’re happy to enable that, but what we’ve found is that roofing contractors like GAF Energy to do that. We work with the roofing contractors and their customers to determine which services we provide and which services the roofer provides. It really lowers the barrier for adoption for both the roofing contractor and the homeowner.”

Contractors are already selling and installing the system. “We launched the company in January, we conducted our first sales training sessions in February, and we’ve already received our first purchase orders,” DeBono notes.

The Solar Kit

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation, including the integrated photovoltaics (PV), flashings, all of the power and electronics that are necessary, along with the hardware.

The system itself screws into the deck and is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Power electronics plug into each other below the system and out of sight, and leads are connected to the inverter, which can be installed by the roofing contractor or GAF Energy.

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation. It is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Photo: GAF Energy

The kit — and the business model — are designed to provide synergy with the roofing contractor. “It is our firm belief that the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor,” says DeBono. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof. As part of the Standard Industries family, we were founded to tap into this market, but we have a strong heritage from GAF, so we completely subscribe to that. We built a solar offering explicitly for roofers. First and foremost, if the roof is not a waterproof barrier for your home, it’s a failure, and we would never allow that to happen.”

The kit is also designed to be aesthetically appealing. “It is a truly roof-integrated solar system — the solar becomes the roof,” DeBono says. “It’s lower profile to the roof, and it simply looks better. The roof being one of the largest influencers on the physical appearance of one’s house, and the house being one of the largest assets a homeowner owns, homeowners don’t want to put anything ugly on their roof. By making it beautiful, we immediately eliminate the objections of those folks who say ‘I don’t want solar on my roof because it’s ugly.’”

Value for Homeowners

The relationship with GAF Energy is designed to benefit the homeowner as well as the contractor. “The value for the homeowners is they have a local contact who sells and installs our system and will be there if there is ever an issue, and they are working hand-in-hand with a manufacturer to provide an unparalleled level of support,” DeBono says. “The solar kit is covered by the same warranty as the roof. It’s backed by a waterproof guarantee from Standard Industries, which has been around for over 130 years.”

Photo: GAF Energy

DeBono believes that for most customers, the decision to add solar comes down to the bottom line. “The primary reason people go solar is to save money,” says DeBono. “There is this vision that people go solar because they are green. But the tipping point to go solar is really about saving money. As we roll this program out, we’ve been focusing on the nine states that offer the best savings.”

DeBono notes the sales cycle for his company’s solar system is about the same as that for a re-roof. “It’s definitely not longer,” he says. “The reason for that is it’s a very simple sale. With our system, we are turning your roof from a static asset into an energy-generating asset that saves you money every month. The only increase in the sales cycle may be the matter of 15 minutes or 20 minutes in the home where we explain it to the customer. What’s critical about our model — remember we have our heritage as a roofing company — is our approach is perfectly compatible with the way roofing contractors sell and do business today.”

Customers calling for a new roof might be good candidates for solar, whether they know it or not. According to DeBono, contractors handling calls about a roofing estimate first check Google maps to determine if the location will be compatible with a solar application. If so, the discussion could lead to adding the solar kit: “The contractor might say, ‘In the same time frame it will take us to put in your new roof, we can make it a solar roof. Instead of this great asset that lasts for 25 years and keeps you warm and dry, you can have a great asset that lasts for 25 years, keeps you warm and dry — and oh, by the way, it generates electricity every day and saves you money every month.’ We’re seeing that people are really interested in that value proposition.”

With a background as a nuclear engineer, submarine officer in the Navy, and six years in the solar industry, DeBono believes the roofing industry is the key to expanding the rooftop solar market. “We at GAF Energy have this mission: energy from every roof,” he says. “And when you look at the size of the roofing industry compared to the size of the solar industry, if you really want to accomplish energy from every roof, it has to be done from a roofing platform.”

For more information about GAF Energy, visit www.gaf.energy.

Projects: Office and Warehouse

BMC ISSAQUAH, ISSAQUAH, WASH.

Because of the steep slope of this roof, the Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal crew installed 60-mil Sureweld HS (High Slope) TPO.

Because of the steep slope of this roof, the Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal crew installed 60-mil Sureweld HS (High Slope) TPO.

Team

Roofing Contractor: Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal, Kent, Wash.
Project Foreman: Rudy Sanchez

Roof Materials

Because of the steep slope of this roof, the Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal crew installed 60-mil Sureweld HS (High Slope) TPO. HS TPO contains more fire-retardant chemicals in the membrane to help decrease the spread of fire. In addition, 1/4-inch Securock Glass-Mat Roof Board was installed, which gave the building a Class A fire rating while helping protect against moisture and mold.

TPO Manufacturer: Carlisle Syntec Systems
Roof Board Manufacturer: USG

Roof Report

BMC Issaquah manufactures doors and high-end cabinetry. The industrial building features a 525-square barrel roof that was very wet and experienced dry rot. The crew replaced nearly 150 sheets of plywood throughout the project.

The main challenge during installation was safety because of the extreme slope. The barrel roof is nearly 60-feet tall from the bottom to the top of the barrel, making installation on the edges difficult because crewmembers had to hot-air weld rolled product on a nearly vertical surface. The HS TPO added another level of difficulty while welding along the edges.

The project was completed on May 1, 2015.

PHOTO: Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal

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Projects: Offices/Manufacturing

Accident Fund Holdings Inc. Headquarters, Lansing, Mich.

Team

Roofing Contractor: Bloom Roofing, Brighton, Mich.
Construction Manager: The Christman Co., Lansing
Architect of Record: HOK, St. Louis
Construction Engineer: Ruby + Associates Inc., Farmington Hills, Mich.

Roof Materials

Accident Fund Holdings Headquarters features a white TPO roof. PHOTO: Image Michigan and The Christman Co.

Accident Fund Holdings Headquarters features a white TPO roof. PHOTO: Image Michigan and The Christman Co.


An insulated cool roof minimizes the building and surrounding area’s heat-island effect.
White TPO Roof: Firestone Building Products Co.
Polyurethane-foam Adhesive: OMG Roofing Products
Caged Roof-hatch Grab Bars: LadderPort

Roof Report

Accident Fund Holdings, the nation’s 13th largest workers’ compensation insurer and a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, has been headquartered in Lansing, Mich., for more than 100 years. When it outgrew its office, the firm’s leaders were determined to stay in Lansing.

By revitalizing the iconic Ottawa Street Power Station, which was built along the Grand River in 1939 but had been mostly abandoned since 1992, the company would have 9 stories and 122,000 square feet to grow into. To support Michigan’s economy, 106 of the 118 contracts and suppliers that participated in the project were Michigan-based firms and 54 of those were Lansing-based.

To remove existing building elements, including catwalks, elevator/ stair shafts, framing and platforms, the team cut two 40-foot-long by 20-foot-wide roof hatches so a crane operator could move about 8,900 pieces of steel in and out of the building while the floors were built from the bottom up.

Since Accident Fund moved into its new headquarters, the building has won numerous awards, including the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation from the state of Michigan and an Excellence in Economic Development Award from the Washington, D.C.-based International Economic Development Council. [Read more…]

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Nashville, Tenn., Begins Revitalization of Its City Center with a New Convention Space that Features a Truly Unique Roof

It isn’t often that a nightmare becomes a pleasant reality. Andy Baker, vice president of Raleigh, N.C.- based Baker Roofing, recalls the year he spent as project manager for the roofing of the new Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., as one of his most challenging jobs. “The logistics, a tight spot downtown, the size of the project and everything that goes along with that—thousands of people trying to work and everyone needs their material in that area at the same time. Even the unique shape of the building made it hard,” Baker remembers. “We’re glad it’s done and we can look back on it now and say: ‘Wow! We did that.’”

The Music City Center was built to be the catalyst for more development in the SoBro neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. It is intended to create a diverse economy that won’t be affected if flooding occurs, like in May 2010.

The Music City Center was built to be the catalyst for more development in the SoBro neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. It is intended to create a diverse economy that won’t be affected if flooding occurs, like in May 2010.

Baker and his crew of up to 50 roofing workers have much to be proud of. The completed project is the largest capital construction project in Nashville’s history and was designed to bring prosperity to the area known as SoBro, or South of Broadway, which was affected by massive flooding in May 2010. The Music City Center lies outside the flood-prone areas and hopefully will be the catalyst for more development, which will create a diverse economy that won’t be affected if another flood occurs.

In addition to the Music City Center’s imaginative design that resembles various musical instruments, the building boasts a number of features that are ideal for a high-profile project. Many of these features are located in the most opportune of places—the roof. An Energy Star-qualified thermoplastic PVC membrane covers the 643,752-squarefoot roof while a 186,700-square-foot vegetated roof literally mimics the rolling hills of Tennessee’s Highland Rim. The rooftop also hosts a 211-kilowatt solar-power system on the 1-acre area that is over the Grand Ballroom, a rooftop space that resembles an acoustic guitar in shape. Lastly, the roof collects rainwater that is funneled to a 360,000-gallon tank before it is used to irrigate the site and flush hundreds of toilets inside.

Construction Challenges

Baker and his colleagues knew the Music City Center would present many challenges even before work began. “We knew it was going to be a logistical nightmare going in but then you have to live it,” he recalls. “You would think four city blocks would be a large enough area to work from but there were thousands of contractors working and receiving materials at the same time. Trying to keep truck drivers and suppliers happy was difficult. The community was great though; there were a lot of police officers around to direct traffic.”

Baker Roofing's team of up to 50 roofing workers spent one year working on the Music City Center.

Baker Roofing’s team of up to 50 roofing workers spent one year working on the Music City Center.

Installation also proved perplexing because of the roof’s undulating slopes of 1/4:12 to 12:12. Baker likens the rolls to waves and points out in some places they were almost conical in shape. In the areas in which there was no vegetated roof, the crew fastened two layers of 1.7-inch polyisocyanurate insulation followed by 1/4-inch roof board. Then a 60-mil thermoplastic PVC membrane in a light gray color was fully adhered to the assembly. The membrane features a lacquer coating to reduce dirt pickup.

Photos: Keri Baker

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