The PHP Solar Panel Mounting System’s base material is made from injection molded high density/high impact polypropylene with UV-inhibitors and antioxidants. The framing features a carbon steel finish that is hot dip galvanized per ASTM A 123. This system addresses height, wind and heat concerns with regard to solar panel installations.
The PHP Solar Panel Mounting System is designed to support a variety of solar panels and can be used for any type of roof; from flat roofs to roofs sloped up to 2 in 12. Seismic and high wind applications are available for solar support applications.
After Years of Roof Leaks, a Laboratory That Produces Theatrical Equipment and Software Undergoes a Complex Reroofing
Founded in 1910, Rosco Laboratories is a multi-national producer of equipment, software and products for the theatrical, film, and television industries and architectural environment. As with every aging flat roofing system, water leakage was becoming a recurring problem at Rosco’s Stamford, Conn., facility. The severity of the leakage was further exacerbated by the lack of roof drainage (only two roof drains serviced the entire building) and poor deck slope conditions (less than 1/16 inch per foot).
Rosco representatives employed traditional methods to control and/or collect the moisture within the building by use of several water diverters. This technique was effective but Rosco representatives soon recognized this was not a viable long term solution as the physical integrity of the roof structure (deck) became a principal concern to the safety of the building occupants.
The Fisher Group LLC, an Oxford, Conn.-based building envelope consulting firm was retained by Rosco in March 2009 to survey the existing site conditions and determine the need for roofing replacement. The existing roofing construction, which consisted of a conventional two-ply, smooth-surfaced BUR with aluminized coating, exhibited numerous deficiencies (most notably severe alligatoring) and was deemed unserviceable. Construction documents, including drawings and specifications and a project phasing plan were developed by Fisher Group to address the planned roof replacement.
Bid proposals were solicited from prequalified contractors in June 2010, and F.J. Dahill Co. Inc., New Haven, Conn., was awarded the contract on the basis of lowest bid.
The building basically consists of a 1-story steel-framed structure constructed in the 1970s. It is a simple “box”-style configuration, which is conducive to manufacturing.
In conjunction with design services, destructive test cuts were made by Fisher Group in several roof sections as necessary to verify the existing roofing composition, insulation substrate, moisture entrapment, and substrate/deck construction. A total of four distinct “layers” of roofing were encountered at each test cut. The existing roofing construction consisted of alternating layers of smooth- and gravel-surfaced, multi-ply felt and bitumen built-up roofing. The bitumen contained throughout the construction was fortunately asphalt-based. Succeeding layers of roofing were spot mopped or fully mopped to the preceding layer (system). The combined weight of the roofing construction was estimated to be upwards of 20 to 22 pounds per square foot when considering the moisture content. This is excessive weight.
It is interesting to note that a minimal amount of roof insulation was present in the existing construction. Insulation was limited to a single layer of 1/2-inch-thick fiberboard. Additional insulation would need to be provided as part of the replacement roofing construction to increase the roof’s thermal performance and comply with the prescriptive requirements of the Connecticut State Energy Conservation Construction Code.
The structural substrate, or decking, is conventional in nature, comprised of poured gypsum roof decking. The roof decking incorporates 1/2-inch gypsum formboard loose laid between steel bulb-tee supports spaced about 32 inches on-center. The poured gypsum roof decking in this instance was utilized as the structural substrate and for insulating purposes. Poured gypsum roof decking has a minimal insulating value of perhaps R-2 to R-3, which is obviously considered to be minimal by present standards.
A representative number of bulk material samples were obtained by Fisher Group from the existing roofing construction as necessary to determine the material composition. The sampling included field membrane roofing plies, coatings and cements, and associated roof penetration and perimeter flashings. Laboratory analysis revealed that the second, third and, in some instances, fourth roofing “layers” (field membrane plies) contained varying amounts—5 to 10 percent—of asbestos (chrysotile) which would necessitate full abatement of the roofing construction.
PHOTOS: The Fisher Group LLC
Like the revolutionary Zep residential solar systems, ZS Peak provides an innovative snap-together system to simplify and accelerate installation. SolarCity estimates that ZS Peak can increase generation capacity on flat roof buildings by 20-50 percent per building and do so without requiring any penetrations. The system’s dense, east-west layout structure will allow SolarCity to fit up to 20 percent more solar panels on standard roofs and up to 50 percent more panels on lightweight roofs, such as those commonly found on warehouses. The increase in panels per roof is particularly valuable in the commercial market, as conventional flat-roof solar systems typically power less than half of a commercial building’s load.
ZS Peak’s east-west orientation not only allows installers to fit more solar panels on each roof than standard south-facing systems, it also captures peak power production throughout a longer period of the day. By lengthening power production time and eliminating the typical mid-day spike of standard solar systems, SolarCity can also make more efficient use of solar inverters to further reduce costs for customers. ZS Peak has so significantly improved on the aerodynamics of conventional systems that it can be installed as a lightweight, non-penetrating system on many roofs that would otherwise require the solar panels to be bolted down.
SolarCity is currently installing its first project with ZS Peak and expects to begin installing the product in volume in January 2015. Businesses and other organizations interested in SolarCity’s services can contact the company directly at (888) 765-2489 for a free, no-obligation solar consultation or visit SolarCity online.
Auxiliary roof pumps and even solar roof pumps have been around for decades but can be unreliable. Nicholas Bryditzki, a licensed roofing contractor and certified infrared roof inspector, developed the Sentinel Solar Roof Pump because he wanted a more reliable option. “It’s not that I invented it; they already exist but none of them work,” he says. “I went to a premier solar engineer with the concept and said I want to make this thing ‘roofer-proof’.”
To Bryditzki, “roofer-proof” means the roof pump had to be very durable. Consequently, the Sentinel Solar Roof Pump is encased in spun aluminum that is powder coated with a DuPont coating to keep the patent-pending system cool. In addition, patent-pending cold-weather protection ensures the pump won’t freeze and burn out. To further protect the pump, a sensor detects when water needs to be drained, so the pump doesn’t run all the time; it uses a “siphon-effect”, per Bryditzki. The 20-Watt solar panel is large enough to recharge the battery.
“Roofers showed a little resistance to this until I showed them how to actually save a roof and service it until the owner was ready to re-pitch and re-deck or instead of installing expensive new in-roof drains,” Bryditzki adds. “That’s how it’s catching on right now.”
Currently, there are three Solar Roof Pump models available: the original Sentinel II XD Solar Roof Pump, which can be placed where it’s needed; the Sentinel II LP Solar Roof Pump, which is a stationary unit with an embedded solar panel; and Sentinel II XDR Solar Roof Pump, which features a removable solar panel that can be placed away from the pump. “We also developed a pan flashing; roofers install the pan in the roof, place the solar roof pump in the pan and, depending on the roof surface, it will help drain the roof down to virtually no water whatsoever,” Bryditzki adds.Bryditzki is delighted by the Sentinel Solar Roof Pump’s success during the two years it has been available in the marketplace. He credits the success to the design of the roof pump itself. “The original prototype is still installed and running in the middle of New Mexico,” he says. “I was just out there last month and we tried to break it; we put mud, leaves and rocks in it and it was still draining.”
This “Roofers’ Choice” was determined by the product that received the most reader inquiries from the March/April issue’s “Materials & Gadgets” section.
PHOTOS: Nicholas Bryditzki