Monthly Archives: July 2012

Standing Seam Metal Roofs – An Ideal Choice for Rainwater Harvesting

In my last blog we talked about wildfires and what you can do to guard against them.  We suggested a Class A fire resistant standing seam metal roof for obvious reasons and a leaf protection system to keep leaves, pine needles and other natural debris out of your gutter so it doesn’t become kindling.

Studies by the University of Texas, the Texas Water Development Board and other universities have emphasized that a standing seam metal roof snares more water for reuse than any other roofing material—up to 95%. Those same studies also say a metal roof delivers the highest quality water for indoor domestic use.  Other roofing materials can spawn bacteria and high levels of dissolved organic carbon which can be unhealthy.  And while harvested rainwater that goes into a cistern is nearly always recommended for secondary uses like toilet flushing, landscape watering and car washing, the water taken from a metal roof is considered the safest.Harvesting rainwater allows you many uses for the collected water.
The same type of leaf protection system we recommended for keeping flammable debris out of the gutter in wildfire areas will also serve as the first step in filtering harvested rainwater. A standing seam metal roof and a leaf protection system are superior, effective and economically efficient designs for fighting wildfire AND capturing rainwater.
For the balance of the system, which  includes a pumping mechanism to pump the water back out for reuse and the storage system to hold the rain water that is captured – what you choose will be dictated by how much water you’re trying to capture. Englert rainwater harvesting system.You can choose from a list of professionally designed products ranging from a 100-gallon, inexpensive rain barrel with spigots for watering and drainage on up to a large in-ground system capable of storing 2,000 gallons of water or more.  We recommend that you contact a rainwater harvesting professional to discuss the type of system that best suits your specific needs.
Rainwater harvesting systems are a relatively inexpensive way to reduce long term water costs while conserving water and protecting the environment.

A Metal Roof and More Can Help Prevent Fire Catastrophes

Installing a standing seam metal roof system on your home can help prevent fire catastrophes – especially if you live in a high risk fire prone area.

A lot of expensive real estate went up in smoke last month in Colorado as wildfires destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 homes in some of the state’s wealthiest neighborhoods.  Nearly every one of those properties was in Colorado’s most combustible woodlands—all of them clearly rated as high-fire danger red zones. Home with standard roof destroyed by wild fires.

More than 100,000 people have moved into these zones in the last decade. Today, one in four of the state’s homes are located in areas that for centuries have contained fire-prone forests.  And yet, people continue to build in them.


Why? Because when you look at the entire U.S. residential fire problem every year with 350,000 to 400,000 fire incidents, the loss of a 1,000 or more homes in combustible woodlands is not a big concern to the insurance companies that insure loss, the big banks that write mortgages and the realtors who rely on the insurance companies and banks to make deals.  So as long as the insurance companies will pay to replace structures and contents, homeowners will build and rebuild high end homes in these markets.House with an asphault roof destroyed by fire.

That leaves the architects and the owners themselves to plan and maintain dwellings that are resistant to fire.  Nearly every fire authority on earth agrees that the best defenses against wildfire are a fire resistant roof and the quality of the defensible space around the house.  Wildfires spread when airborne firebrands are carried by the wind and make contact with easily ignitable materials.  Experts know you can drop a flaming one by two foot piece of lumber on a roof and it will take a long time to ignite. But multiple firebrands carried by the wind that find ignitable material in a vulnerable part of the house can cause far more damage, far more quickly.

Homeowners can take care of removing most of these materials and architects can help by designing against these vulnerabilities. How you ask?
First you homeowners…. Get rid of wood and shake shingled roofs and replace them with a standing seam metal roof.   Make sure that ground fuel like dry grass, leaves, pine needles dead limbs and twigs within 30 feet of your house are removed along with flammable vegetation.  Get rid of dry mulch. Clean out your gutters frequently to remove potential fuel like leaves, twigs and pine needles. Better yet, switch out your existing gutters for a gutter or leaf protection system that diverts debris and only allows water into the gutter trough. Continue reading

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