Military Snaps to Attention

The U.S. Department of Defense Tests Metal Roof Technology Integrating Renewable Energy and Sustainability Features

According to Washington, D.C.-based Energy Star, there are 4.8 million existing commercial buildings in the U.S. and 40 percent of them were built prior to 1970, a time when energy efficiency was not the priority it is today. As a result, our nation has a large inventory of buildings that are poorly insulated and are using inefficient appliances, air-handling equipment, lighting and windows.

The good news is work has already begun on the use of new building technologies and systems to implement energy-efficient solutions to these buildings. In fact, a number of federal agencies and departments have stepped up their activities to set an example toward meeting new efficiency goals. Consider the following:

  • Executive Order 13514 was signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to seek lower greenhouse-gas emissions in federal buildings of 28 percent by 2020.
  • The U.S. General Services Administration has established its high-performance building department to ensure all retrofit buildings feature sustainable design characteristics, including those that improve energy efficiency, optimize the use of potable water, manage storm-water runoff, and improve the interior comfort and air quality of the 500,000 buildings GSA oversees.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy remains focused on research into more energy-efficient building products, technologies and systems, including retrofit applications. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy provides millions of dollars to improve materials, manufacturing processes and supply chains for photovoltaic systems used in retrofit applications.

Even the U.S. Department of Defense, which is the world’s largest consumer of energy, is taking a leadership role in energy, sustainability and retrofit solutions for the 2.4 billion square feet of building space it operates. By installing a test retrofit project at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas, DoD is learning how today’s roofing technologies can enhance its energy-efficiency goals.

The Mandates

In 2007, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which requires DoD to produce or procure 25 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2025. In addition, the federal government has mandated DoD institute a 30 percent energy-use reduction on its properties by 2015 and another 37.5 percent reduction by 2020.

The integrated roof system was installed over an 11,900-square-foot metal roof on a 10,000-square-foot Security Forces building at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas.

Through the use of the DoD Environmental Security Technologies Certification Program (ESTCP), the military is providing grants to industry to demonstrate commercially available and sustainable novel technologies, products and systems aimed at meeting DoD’s energy- and water-conservation goals.

One such ESTCP grant was awarded in 2010 to a team of metal construction industry-leading companies and the Metal Construction Association, Glenview, Ill.

The approximate $1 million grant is being used to demonstrate a retrofit metal roof system with integrated renewable energy technologies that showcases a holistic assembly of six different roofing system components. The ESTCP grant was awarded to this team in particular because the group offered the only retrofit metal roofing system integrating other energy-saving technologies to form a building envelope.

About the Author

Robert Scichili Scott Kriner
Robert Scichili is president of Robert Scichili Associates, Richardson, Texas, and principal partner in RSK Avanti Partners LLC, a consulting firm focused on strategic marketing, sales and technical development. Scott Kriner, LEED AP O+M, is president of Macungie, Pa.-based Green Metal Consulting Inc. and a principal in RSK Avanti Partners LLC. He also is serving the Glenview, Ill.-based Metal Construction Association as technical director.

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