Monthly Archives: June 2012

Solar Energy Solutions on a Standing Seam Metal Roof – Crystalline Panels Versus Thin Film Laminates

I think as a designer, you’ll agree that a standing seam metal roof is a choice location for a solar rooftop photovoltaic application.

The real issue is which one of the two most popular solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) technologies you will recommend for your project—the more traditional crystalline photovoltaic array or the more flexible PV laminate thin film systems. No matter what your decision, a standing seam metal roof will be the best platform you can specify for either PV roof technology, particularly since a metal roof is the only conventional roofing material with a life expectancy equal to or longer than both the crystalline and thin film technologies.Crystalline solar panels.

At first blush, you might be tempted to ask which PV system is cheaper or which produces more power based on manufacturer specifications. Try not to be lured into that thought process. Your first question really should be—where is your roof?

Available space, climate, sunlight and design aesthetics—not just price and product output may dictate your most suitable photovoltaic choice for a standing seam metal roof.

For example, if your structure is in an area of bright, continuous sunlight, then I’d suggest you consider mounting crystalline panels on your metal roof. And if you’re trying to maximize the solar capabilities of a small roof area, you’ll probably find that crystalline panels will perform better than thin film laminates.Solar PV laminate on Englert metal roof.

On the other hand, if your roof is in a lower sunlight area, either because of climate or shade cast by trees and adjacent structures, then I think you’ll find thin film laminates will probably deliver more power. And if you have plenty of roof space, then thin film will probably deliver better results for your money.

Be aware however, there is no apples-to-apples comparison for pricing for these two technologies when they are installed on a standing seam metal roof. A crystalline system will require framing and clamps that attach to the seam of the metal roof. This will take more time and cost more than an adhesive-backed photovoltaic laminate which can be applied directly to the metal roof panel. However, it takes more laminate material to produce amounts of energy comparable to a crystalline configuration. Consequently, more connections must be installed with the laminate system, adding more cost to your project. I think you’ll find this cancels out any substantial installation savings from the simple peel and stick laminate process.
Thin film PV laminate on Englert metal roof.
Many metal roofs today are available with cool roof coatings that are Energy Star approved and LEED compliant. These designations indicate the metal roofs have high solar reflectivity and emissivity that can keep the interior of a building cool in the summer. In sunny, warm weather conditions, we’ve found that the panels of a crystalline system mounted on a standing seam metal roof further reduce the heat factor by shading the metal roof surface. But dark blue photovoltaic laminate applied directly to the metal roof panels does not have that same ability.
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Standing Seam Metal Roofs Will Weather Hurricanes

But the Metal Roof is Only One of the Factors

What makes a metal roof perform well in high wind conditions? They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  The pictures below dramatize the importance of exercising best practices when designing and installing a standing seam metal roof in hurricane country. In 2004, the Punta Gorda High School suffered severe damage due to high winds from Hurricane Charley while the Sallie Jones Elementary School, less than 100 yards away with an Englert standing seam metal roof suffered none. Several other structures with properly installed metal roofs remained unscathed while many with poorly constructed metal roofs were virtually destroyed by high winds (see photos below).

Punta Gorda High School suffered severe damage.

Building industry professionals may argue whether metal roofing failures in high wind uplift environments have been the fault of certain metal roofing systems, inadequate codes, construction shortcuts or simply the power of Mother Nature. Nonetheless, the consensus has been that tougher wind standards implemented after Hurricane Andrew 10 years ago have saved property and lives.

The Atlantic hurricane season is now officially upon us until November 30th, a timeframe that historically encompasses 97 percent of the annual tropical storm activity. Whether you’re designing for now or the future, the standing seam metal roofing material you choose will always be an issue.  Some, not all metal roofing products meet industry requirements such as the Florida Building Code wind-uplift requirement, Miami Dade uplift testing, FM uplift testing, UL Uplift Standard 580 and ASTM 1592 uplift standards. These products, like Englert’s Series 1300 and Series 2000 standing seam metal roof panels, have gone through rigorous, controlled performance examinations that make them more qualified than other metal roofs to withstand the onslaught of Mother Nature. Continue reading

Welcome to The Englert Metal Roofing Exchange

We have always liked sharing our ideas with you. For many years now, we have made it our business to be the go-to guys for technical knowhow and counsel on metal roofing materials, roll forming machines and installation questions. We have always liked exchanging ideas as well. But, until now, nearly all of that has been done across a table, on the jobsite, or over the phone.

We are pleased to announce that effective today, June 1st, 2012, we will begin to routinely blog about timely, information that  we hope will be useful to your business.  Our blog is called the “Metal Roofing Exchange”.  Through this blog we will provide you with thought-provoking ideas on the use of metal in design and construction. We’re going to focus on sharing leading edge developments in metal roofing and wall panel. And, because we really want this vehicle to truly be an exchange we hope to hear from you as well, about ideas we can share as colleagues, questions you might have about materials and projects or simply about things that just plain bug you because you can’t seem to find answers.

We’ll be throwing out ideas about cool metal roofing, solar technologies, the latest developments in rainwater harvesting, industry initiatives, color, durability, technical issues of broad interest and so on.

We’re extremely excited about this new blog. We welcome your observations and we encourage any questions you might have.

Let us know what you think… Enjoy!

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