The Attic Needs Ventilation but How Much Exactly?

Good news, roofing contractors: You do not have to be good with numbers nor do you have to enjoy math to be able to quickly—and accurately—calculate the amount of attic ventilation needed for residential attics. Here it is, a handy shortcut for quick calculations:

Intake exhaust airflow in a house

Intake exhaust airflow in a house

Attic square footage ÷ 2 = square inches of EXHAUST and square inches of INTAKE Net Free Area (NFA) needed. (NFA is the unobstructed area through which air can pass through a vent, usually measured in square inches. Ventilation manufacturers assign an NFA value to the non-motorized vents they make.)

This shortcut conveniently calculates the 2015 International Residential Building Code MINIMUM (IRC Section R806 – Roof Ventilation 1, which states, in part, 1 square foot of Net Free Area for every 150 square feet of attic floor space with the attic defined as length x width floor of the attic). The shortcut actually overestimates a bit but that’s OK. It puts the roofing contractor in the ballpark which is useful when estimating.

To calculate the allowable IRC EXCEPTION to the MINIUMUM (that is, 1/300 ratio) here’s the shortcut:

Attic square footage ÷ 4 = square inches of EXHAUST and square inches of INTAKE Net Free Area needed.

Here’s an example using the shortcut for the 1/150 Code Minimum.
Say the contractor is standing in front of a house that has an attic with 2,200 square feet.

    2,200 ÷ 2 =

  • 1,100 square inches of EXHAUST net free area needed
  • 1,100 square inches of INTAKE net free area needed
  • The next step is to select a suitable exhaust vent and intake vent that fits the roof design for best performance and best aesthetics. After that, find out the vent’s NFA as rated by the manufacturer. Divide the vent’s NFA into 1,100 to yield the number of vents needed (either in linear feet or units/pieces). That’s it. It’s time to install.

There is a longer “official” formula based on building code you can reference or point your clients to for reassurance that you know what you’re talking about. Most attic ventilation manufacturers list the longer formula on their websites and inside key product brochures. But the shortcut is just as good and faster!

Calculation Q & A

Here are the answers to the five most frequent questions pertaining to calculating attic ventilation.

1. “Why is it important that the amount of intake ventilation matches the amount of exhaust?”
The goal of an effective attic ventilation system is to help fight heat buildup inside the attic during the warmer months and moisture buildup in the colder months. Additionally, in climates where snow and ice are common, attic ventilation can help fight the formation of ice dams. To achieve these goals the attic needs cooler, dryer air entering low (near the eave or the roof’s lowest edge) so it can flush out any warm, moist air that may have built up inside, pushing it out through the roof’s exhaust vents positioned as close to the peak as possible. This balanced-airflow approach allows the air to “wash” the entire underside of the roof deck from low to high.

2. “What if it’s not possible to balance the attic ventilation system 50 percent intake/50 percent exhaust?”
If it cannot be balanced it’s better to have more intake than exhaust because it has been our experience most attics lack proper intake ventilation, which is the leading cause of venting callbacks. Additionally, any excess intake will become exhaust on the leeward side of the house because the intake vents on the windward side of the house will have “pressurized” the attic. As a result, the intake vents on the leeward side of the house will work “with” the exhaust vents to release air.

However, if the attic has more exhaust than intake it potentially can cause the extra exhaust to pull its missing intake from itself (if it’s a ridge vent) or from another nearby exhaust vent (from one wind turbine to another or one roof louver to another), which means possible weather ingestion.

3. “What if the roof has 40 feet of available ridge length but the math calls for only 30 feet of ridge vent needed?”
It is OK to install all 40 feet of ridge vent as long as it can be balanced with intake ventilation. If the amount of intake ventilation cannot match the entire 40 feet of ridge vent, consider reducing the width of the ridge vent slot (thereby reducing the vent’s NFA per linear foot) to accommodate the amount of intake NFA available. Doing this keeps the airflow continuous along the entire horizontal ridge and balanced high and low. As always, be sure the overall amount of ventilation meets code requirements.

4. “If attic access is not practical is there another way to measure the attic square footage?”
Ideally, the attic square footage would be measured at the attic floor length x width (regardless of roof pitch, by the way). If this is not possible, and the homeowner does not have any documentation on file listing attic square footage, you could use the footprint of the house (aerial view of the house) or the number of shingle squares (one shingle square equals 100 square feet) to estimate the attic square footage. Neither of the alternate measuring tactics, however, is as accurate as an attic floor measurement.

5. “How does roof pitch come into play when calculating attic ventilation?”
Current IRC requirements do not factor the role a roof’s pitch plays in the amount of attic ventilation needed, but ventilation manufacturers do. Generally, as the roof pitch increases the volume inside the attic also increases along with the amount of needed attic ventilation. Here’s a rule of thumb to follow:

  • Up to 6:12 roof pitch use the standard formula as explained in this article.
  • 7:12 to 10:12 roof pitches increase the amount of ventilation by 20 percent.
  • 11:12 roof pitch and higher increase the amount of ventilation by 30 percent.

For projects involving vents with motors, the calculation formula is different.

Runners’ Haven Receives New Aluminum Roof

Coxe Cage is the home of the Yale men's and women's indoor track and field teams.

Coxe Cage is the home of the Yale men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams.

Coxe Cage at Yale University, New Haven, Conn., is the home of the Yale men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams. The building is said to have one of the largest skylights in the world at roughly 26,000 square feet. The reroofing project began July 2013 and was completed in late 2013. Approximately 25,981 square feet of Tite-Loc Plus, 16-inches on-center, 0.040 aluminum was installed on the building. The 75-foot panels feature the color Zinc.

Team

The building is said to have one of the largest skylights in the world at roughly 26,000 square feet.

The building is said to have one of the largest skylights in the world at roughly 26,000 square feet.


Roofing contractor: Silktown Roofing, Manchester, Conn.

Architect: Kiss + Cathcart Architects, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Roofing distributor: ABC Supply, Beloit, Wis.

General contractor: Giordano Construction, Brandford, Conn.

Aluminum supplier: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

Approximately 25,981 square feet of Tite-Loc Plus, 16-inches on-center, 0.040 aluminum was installed on the building.

Approximately 25,981 square feet of Tite-Loc Plus, 16-inches on-center, 0.040 aluminum was installed on the building.

Photos: Petersen Aluminum Corp.

Metal Roofing and Siding Enhance Waste Collection Building

The Elk Grove Special Waste Collection Center celebrate the industrial chic nature of dealing with hazardous waste products with metal roofing and wall panels.

Metal roofing and siding help the Elk Grove Special Waste Collection Center celebrate the industrial chic nature of dealing with hazardous waste products.

The city of Elk Grove, Calif.’s Special Waste Collection Center opened in April 2014 with a commitment to a cleaner and greener community. The center, which features AEP Span’s architectural metal panels, has earned LEED Gold Certification and, to date, has accepted nearly 300,000 pounds, or 130 tons, of recyclable materials diverted from local landfills.

“With the Elk Grove Special Waste Collection Center project, we wanted to express and celebrate the industrial chic nature of dealing with hazardous waste products at the same time creating a safe, warm and comfortable environment for the center staff,” says Eric Glass, AIA, LEED AP and principal of Santa Rosa, Calif.-based firm Glass Architects. “The project is designed to take a heavily abused, neglected and contaminated site and revitalize it, turning it into a protected habitat.”

“Metal siding and roofing products were a natural choice for this project,” Glass adds. “The inherent durability and recycled content material speaks to the overall mission of this facility. The horizontal and vertical fluted siding creates a strong form and texture, enhancing the building’s character.”

The Elk Grove Special Waste Collection Center project features AEP Span’s 24-gauge Reverse Box Rib in ZACtique II on the lower section of the wall application; 24-gauge HR-36 in Metallic Silver in the upper wall and canopy application; 24-gauge Prestige Series in Metallic Silver in a soffit application; 16-inch, 24-gauge SpanSeam in Hemlock Green in a roof application; and 24-gauge Curved Select Seam in Hemlock Green for the curved canopy application.

The $4.6 million center is the first, and only, facility of its kind in the nation powered by solar energy.

The $4.6 million center is the first, and only, facility of its kind in the nation powered by solar energy.

The $4.6 million center is the first, and only, facility of its kind in the nation powered by solar energy. Since its grand opening in April 2014, the center has been used by more than 8,000 customers to dispose of paint, cleaning supplies, electronics and other household recyclables. The center has also received nearly 1,000 visitors to the reuse room, which offers a wide variety of new or partially used products for free.

Project Details

Project: Elk Grove Special Waste Collection Center, Elk Grove, Calif.
Architect: Glass Architects, Santa Rosa, Calif.
General Contractor: Bobo Construction Inc., Elk Grove
Installer: MCM Roofing, McClellan, Calif., (916) 333-5294
Manufacturer of Architectural Metal Panels: AEP Span

The Qualities of a Top-performing Shingle

Shingle product development has generally been slow compared to technology evolution in other industries. The most important performance requirements of asphalt shingles, like shedding water, fire and wind resistance, durability and code compliance, have been established for decades. Within the past 35 years, though, there has been a push to develop additional performance standards for asphalt shingles.

The current (and long-standing) product standard for fiberglass asphalt shingles is ASTM D3462. This standard focuses on the physical performance measures of shingles at the time of manufacturing. A number of areas tested include the “recipe” of the shingle (glass mat, adhesive, finished weight, etc.) and performance requirements, such as tear strength, behavior on heating, fastener pull-through resistance (the force needed to pull a nail through the shingle at high and low temperatures), and penetration and softening point of the asphalt.

However, some manufacturers have fought to raise the performance requirements that shingles must meet. Rather than focusing on performance at the time of manufacture, these manufacturers want to establish a standard that would reflect how shingles perform over time. In 2011, the ICC Evaluation Service, Brea, Calif., approved a new alternative acceptance criterion for asphalt shingles, AC438. Instead of dictating how to make an asphalt shingle (what raw materials to use), it requires additional physical property and performance testing beyond ASTM D3462.

AC438 contains stringent performance testing requirements, which are meant to evaluate the performance of a shingle over time. “When thinking about shingle performance, it’s imperative we, as an industry, are looking not just at performance at the time of manufacture. AC438 helps test in these extreme environments to give us better insight,” says Emily Videtto, vice president of shingles and new product development at GAF, Parsippany, N.J. The shingles are put through three critical, demanding tests to evaluate durability in a variety of temperatures and weather situations:

  • Temperature cycling. This looks at long-term extreme-temperature resistance—how shingles can withstand winter cold or summer heat. The tests occur in 12- to 24-hour cycles, so it takes 12 days to put the shingle through extreme high and extreme low temperatures. The low temperature is done after soaking in water. Under five times magnification, the shingles are inspected for signs of tearing or cracking that show the glass mat, butt joints in the first course and no separations greater than 1/4 inch, and no evidence of tearing around fasteners or pull through. If any of these conditions exist, the material fails the test.
  • Weather resistance. This test looks at how shingles perform after long-term exposure to the sun. Using ASTM G155, a Xenon Arc weatherometer that tests for accelerated weathering, shingles are subjected to 2,000 hours of light and water in cycles for 83 days. After that’s complete, there is a visual examination for evidence of surfacing loss, erosion or exposed reinforcement. Shingle samples must have a minimum of 80 percent of their original breaking strength to pass this stringent test.
  • Wind-driven rain. This determines how shingles stand up to heavy, driving rain. The shingles are tested under Florida Building Code Test Protocol TAS-100 with the minimum slope specified by the manufacturer. No water should infiltrate through the sheathing and there should be no blow-off, tear-off or release of the shingle (or any portion of it). The test subjects the shingles to 15 minutes of wind and water, then 10 minutes off, then back on again with wind speeds going to 35, 70, 90 and 110 mph. This results in 8 inches per hour of rain to test the shingle’s performance. A camera is mounted on the underside to look for any water intrusion during the test.

AC438 also looks at the weight of the displaced surfacing over the asphalt coating. With ASTM D3462, the requirement is one gram of granule loss. AC438 requires less displaced surfacing, so more granules need to be kept on the surface of the shingle to better protect it.

These additional tests challenge shingle manufacturers to make a better-quality product to meet the requirements found in AC438. GAF was the first shingle manufacturer to provide independent verification to the requirements of AC438 and additional manufacturers have since followed. These tests are a big step forward in evaluating performance and choosing a shingle that has the qualities to stand the test of weather and time. This type of testing ultimately helps roofing contractors because they want to know that the shingles they are installing will pass these stringent tests and provide stronger protection against the elements. For homeowners, they can feel comfortable they are installing a top-performing shingle that will help protect their most valuable asset.

Today, all GAF shingles comply with ASTM D3462 and AC438, as well as pass the industry’s two toughest wind-resistance tests: ASTM D3161, Class F (110 mph), and ASTM D7158, Class H (150 mph). These code advancements and stronger tests have helped to change the manufacturing of roofing shingles from an art to a science. This science comes through years of research, lab testing, and development to find the right mix of materials and production processes to produce a technologically advanced shingle. In fact, GAF created its own shingle science with Advanced Protection Shingle Technology, aimed at pushing the envelope to deliver shingles with the most advanced design, manufacturing, and testing techniques for quality and longevity in an asphalt shingle.

Summer Safety Tips for Roofing Workers

Summer, the prime season for inspections and reroofing projects, is here. Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, here are five important summer safety rules every Florida roofing contractor needs to respect before venturing out into the summer sun.

Before dropping the phone to drag out the ladders and survey the scene for broken flashing and missing shingles, there are important summer safety rules every roofing contractor needs to respect.

Summer Safety Tips

1. Early To Rise
No one can control the weather, know how hot the day is going to get or predict with 100 percent accuracy when it will start to rain in the afternoon. However, contractors can control their day by getting an early morning start to avoid as much of the sun’s summer rays and afternoon rain as possible. Getting the bulk of the work done before the hottest point of the day is Roofing 101—and the key to surviving in summer heat.

2. Hydration Is Key
As reported by The New York Times, “Last year (2014) was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began.” The trend is continuing, with the warmest winter since 1880, according to the National Climatic Data Center. What does this mean for the summer of 2015? It probably means that a meteorology degree won’t be needed to predict the long heat wave that is undoubtedly in the forecast for this summer.

The best tip for surviving the extreme summer heat is staying hydrated. The human body is made up of 60 percent water, which is why the body is dependent on water to function. Water intake helps digest food, take nutrients and oxygen to all the cells of the body, and lubricate joints while cushioning organs.

Standing on the roof, directly in the path of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, causes the body to sweat. And while sweating regulates body temperature, excessive sweating without replenishment can lead to dehydration, fainting and many other serious ailments. Drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after every roofing project should be the plan of action for all contractors working in the heat.

3. Keep It Cool
Standing on top of a roof, there is usually no shade to protect a roofer from the sun’s rays. Taking an ample amount of breaks in the shade, or air conditioning if available, while working through the hot sun is an important part in staying hydrated throughout the day.

4. Dress Appropriately
Appropriate clothes are the body’s first line of defense against the sun. Shirts designed to keep you cool, such Dri-Fit or ClimaCool, are a great way to beat the heat in the summer. These fabrics are breathable and wick moisture from the body.

Don’t forget about the importance of a good pair of shoes. Finding shoes that have a great resistance to wear-and-tear and have a slip-resistant sole are two important features for roofing footwear attire.

Finally, sunscreen is a roofer’s best short-term defense against burns and long-term safeguard when it comes to preventing skin cancer. To aid in a roofer’s fight against dehydration and other ailments caused by the sun, a layer of sunscreen should cover all body parts not shielded by clothing—it is the final piece to every roofer’s summer uniform.

5. Rain, Rain, Go Away
Rain is a huge hindrance for roofers. Slipping and falling is just one reason why sites like BankRate.com and BusinessInsider.com rank roofing as one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. So although the heat is dangerous, working in the rain is also very risky.

Wet shingles are heavier to carry onto a roof, felt is more likely to bubble up or rip, and the dangers of tripping and falling are real. And while it may be tempting to try and save an hour or two, the risk is not worth the reward. Avoid all of these potential hazards and do not roof in the rain.

Safety in the Sunshine

Make the most of the summer weather, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Get an early start, stay hydrated, take plenty of breaks, dress appropriately and be careful in the rain. It’s every contractor’s guide to conquering summer.

PHOTO: HitchClip

Buying New vs. Used Equipment: What’s Best for You?

Successful businesses are run by people who are prudent with how money is spent or reinvested into the business. The bigger the expenditure, the more research may be required to make the best decision.

The purchase of rollforming equipment is certainly a major investment in your business. Rollformers are often your operation’s most integral piece of equipment, so you want to make sure you’re purchasing a rollformer that will meet all your demands or can be updated to meet those requirements.

Rollformers are often your operation’s most integral piece of equipment, so you want to make sure you’re purchasing a rollformer that will meet all your demands or can be updated to meet those requirements.

Rollformers are often your operation’s most integral piece of equipment, so you want to make sure you’re purchasing a rollformer that will meet all your demands or can be updated to meet those requirements.


Is a new piece of equipment the best investment, or is there an opportunity to purchase a quality used rollformer at a significant savings? Being an OEM, obviously, I’m in favor of a customer buying new equipment—it eliminates a lot of worries and potential headaches. Purchasing a rollformer is more complex than purchasing a standalone production unit. Rollforming machines are one component in a system that has many moving parts; they require a great deal of synchronization to produce accurate components at relatively high speeds. The use of an OEM rollforming system manufacturer is highly recommended, if for no other reason than your own protection.

Having said that, there are obvious situations where the purchase of a good piece of used equipment makes sense. Purchasing used equipment is a viable market because the brand name machines are built to last. There exists a certain psychology out there, it’s the first inclination to look for a deal, for something used.

One good place to purchase used equipment is from someone who needs to downsize their business or perhaps to raise cash. A machine from a company in a different geographic market could make a great buy, price-wise, and you could purchase a machine that is ready to go, ready to start producing. One advantage with purchasing equipment in this fashion is the buyer can usually see the machine in action before writing a check. Plus, your production start is only dependent on how long it takes to transport and set up the equipment. Waiting for custom-made equipment from an OEM may take up to six months. You’re making money only when your machine is up and running.

A word of caution with purchasing used equipment from an individual … make sure there are no liens or encumbrances.

Another viable option for purchasing used equipment is at an auction. A general rule is that you should not pay more than 60 percent of the price of a new machine. That also applies when purchasing equipment from a dealer, which can be even trickier. Buyer beware is the general rule when buying from a dealer because you’re buying “as is” and “where is.” You don’t get to see the machine in operation, so you can’t know what problems you may have to deal with.

Purchasing used equipment from an individual or a dealer also means you have no OEM warranty and OEM technical support and training. We’ve had customers who required a second round of training … you don’t know what you don’t know until you turn on the machine.

With the purchase of used equipment, you’re also missing out on the newest technology, a part of the life cycle of the machine, as well as any depreciation allowance. Technology is changing all the time. The newest technology enables your machine to run a higher speeds, produce the most accurate products and allow for the greatest amount of flexibility with the geometry of products with the same tooling.

An often overlooked consideration when purchasing used equipment is the quality of your in-house maintenance staff. Maintaining these machines is vital to keeping them running. I’ve seen customers who have the staff to make it work and I’ve seen companies whose idea of maintenance is running the machine until it breaks. That’s zero-maintenance and it ends up being expensive.

The purchase price of used equipment is usually only part of the investment. Most likely, you still will require an OEM to rebuild the equipment, add tooling and, in most cases, new electronics. These can be challenging items to budget, requiring more of your time in the form of research. OEMs are certainly capable of rebuilding basic machines and augmenting the entire system with new pieces of updated equipment, electronics and technologies.

We refurbish equipment, both ours and rollformers manufactured by others. Most of it ranges from 10 to 30 years old. People come to us with machines they want us to get running at 80 feet per minute. That’s an unknown with used equipment. It doesn’t matter how big the motor is, if the gears will only allow a machine to run 40 feet per minute, that’s all you’re going to get out of it.

Experts can even be fooled by the condition of used equipment until they see it running. Without seeing rollformers in operation, you don’t know the condition of the bearings and if all tooling is straight.

Experts can even be fooled by the condition of used equipment until they see it running. Without seeing rollformers in operation, you don’t know the condition of the bearings and if all tooling is straight.


Experts can even be fooled by the condition of used equipment until they see it running. Without seeing rollformers in operation, you don’t know the condition of the bearings and if all tooling is straight.

Finally, beware of any equipment that was stored outside. If someone comes to us with equipment that’s been stored outside and wants to know what’s worth, we tell them whatever they can get for scrap. If it sat outside for any amount of time, that’s what it’s worth. Damaging rust is not always visible to the naked eye, so it will require an in-depth inspection of the gear boxes. It’s probably not worth the potential problems.

At the end of the day, it’s a cost-benefit situation. If your volume of production justifies new, buy new. The life cycle of a new machine is highly predictable when you’re in control of the maintenance.

If anticipated volume will be low, a used line may make more sense. However, please take into consideration if the brand is still in business. If not, spare parts can become a huge issue … not to mention the obvious lack of support.

PHOTOS: Samco Machinery

Redefining Sustainability

My company is currently in the process of restoring more than 1,600 window sashes for a large historic project in Buffalo, N.Y. As I recently walked through our plant and saw the thousands of windows in various stages of repair, I reflected upon how we were repairing windows that are more than 135-years old. This made me think about the current state of the construction industry and what our expectations are for the life of a building structure and the components that make up that structure. During the past 10 years, there has been a great deal of talk about green buildings and sustainability, but how many of these “green” commercial or residential buildings are designed or constructed to last for centuries? When will the life cycle of the structure and the construction materials themselves become factors in the sustainability criteria? It seems to me that more effort is placed on whether a material is recyclable than whether it can perform over the long haul. It is time that the design community, manufacturers and construction processes begin to consider the life of the building if we are truly going to incorporate sustainability in our industry.

Back in 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council developed the LEED green building rating system as a way to guide building owners to be environmentally accountable and to use resources responsibly. The LEED system has had a profound effect upon the design community by motivating advancements in energy efficiency, use of recyclable materials, incorporation of natural daylight and reuse of water. The LEED program made the word “sustainability” a household term over the past ten years, but has it truly redefined sustainable design? I would submit that LEED has been most successful in motivating changes in how structures consume natural resources and how the structure can be recycled at the end of its useful life. Very little emphasis has been put on designing a structure and using component materials that will last for many generations.

I like the definition of sustainability from author and professor Geir B. Asheim. “Sustainability is defined as a requirement of our generation to manage the resource base such that the average quality of life that we ensure ourselves can potentially be shared by all future generations.” I would submit that true sustainability in the construction industry implies that we construct edifices that can be used for many generations. It does not mean that we build a structure that has to have its major components replaced every 20 years.

Take windows for example. The major window manufacturers have developed designs that require the replacement of the entire window once the insulated glass seal has failed. Although the window is made of materials that can be recycled, it isn’t designed for multi-generational, long-term use. Changes in the glazing details that would facilitate glass replacement could dramatically extend the lifespan of these products. Other manufacturers use inexpensive materials such as vinyl for major structural members that have spurious life expectancy. Ask any window manufacturer for the life expectancy of their products and they will refer to their 10 year product and 20 year glass warranties. Is it unreasonable to expect a window to last for more than 20 years? I don’t think so.

Other products such as appliances, finishes, roofing, HVAC, lighting, siding, etc. also have very limited life expectancies. Some promote lifetime warranties that are so burdened with legalese they are rendered useless. By limiting the warranty to the original purchaser, prorating the warranty every year, and limiting exposure, the warranty actually protects the manufacturer more than the purchaser. American manufacturers have become more concerned with cutting costs than building better products. If manufacturers made changes in designs and the base materials used in fabrication, they could dramatically improve the expected years of service. Although many of the changes in materials will increase prices, there is a market for more durable products.

It’s time that the construction industry begins to take the life cycle of our new structures more seriously. We need to make advances in the quality of our construction designs and materials for the industry to truly become driven by sustainability. We should view our work as a testament for future generations rather than a disposable structure that will eventually be long forgotten.

This blog post first appeared on Re-View’s Window Review Blog.

Sustainable Home Features a Metal Roof for Durability and Energy Efficiency

A Metal Sales roof system has been chosen to top an ambitious Net-Zero building. Ronda and Nigel Farrar chose to work with Metal Sales on their 3,000-square-foot home in Escondido, Calif. The home overlooks Lake Hodges and was designed to be a model for green design by utilizing commercially available green building products.

The Farrar's dream of achieving a Net-Zero energy design was realized with help from Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp.

The Farrar’s dream of achieving a Net-Zero energy design was realized with help from Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp.

The Farrars are the owners of the new home and its surrounding sustainable farm. The home is one of San Diego County’s first LEED Platinum homes and is ENERGY STAR qualified. Their dream of achieving a Net-Zero energy design was realized with help from Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp.

“We chose a metal roof for our home because it was a sustainable material with a long life expectancy,” explains homeowner Rhonda Farrar. “Compared to other non-metal roofing materials, a metal roof is more durable and lighter, resulting in structural savings when building. Metal roofing also makes our home safer in the event of an earthquake or fire. Due to the reflectivity and energy efficiency of the metal, the roof contributes to a comfortable, energy-efficient living space.”

The home features 5,000 square feet of 24 gauge Magna-Loc standing seam roof panels in Antique Patina from Metal Sales. More than 100 panel colors from Metal Sales are listed with ENERGY STAR and improve energy efficiency by reflecting sunlight. This provides an energy savings by reducing the amount of energy needed for cooling the home. The steel panels are also 100 percent recyclable and contain a high percentage of recycled material. Each of these factors contributes to the home’s LEED Platinum certification.

"We chose a metal roof for our home because it was a sustainable material with a long life expectancy," explains homeowner Rhonda Farrar. "Compared to other non-metal roofing materials, a metal roof is more durable and lighter, resulting in structural savings when building."

“We chose a metal roof for our home because it was a sustainable material with a long life expectancy,” explains homeowner Rhonda Farrar. “Compared to other non-metal roofing materials, a metal roof is more durable and lighter, resulting in structural savings when building.”

“The longevity, reflectivity and energy-efficient qualities of a metal roof make it an ideal choice for a sustainable home,” says Drew Hubbell, owner of Hubbell & Hubbell Architects. “The cool metal roof reflects heat, reducing cooling needs and allowed for easy installation of the photovoltaic panels without penetrating the roof. The standing seam roof also fit the architectural style of the home with an antique patina finish. The simple lines of the roof fit in with the modern design of the home and complements the home’s exterior.”

The project team consisted of homeowners Rhonda and Nigel Farrar; architect Hubbell & Hubbell Architects, San Diego; general contractor Gaitaud Construction, San Diego; and roofing contractor Victor Contracting & Roofing, Escondido. For more information about the Farrar Green Home and Sustainable Farm, visit the Farrar Green Home website.

PERC Provides Safety Tips for Using Propane Heaters on Job Sites

During the cold winter months, construction professionals who use temporary, propane-powered heating equipment on the job site can be more productive, making it easier to finish projects on time and on budget. In addition to providing more comfortable working conditions, propane-powered heaters can also maintain the ambient temperatures necessary for common tasks like drywall installation or painting. However, like any portable heating device, propane-powered heaters must be used and maintained properly.

A temporary propane unit that pumps hot air through existing ductwork.

A temporary propane unit that pumps hot air through existing ductwork.


“Considering the cold and snowy weather that much of the country has experienced lately, it’s an ideal time to remind builders and remodelers how important it is to properly install, maintain and use propane-powered heaters,” says Bridget Kidd, director of residential and commercial programs for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “By following a few simple guidelines, they can ensure optimum job site performance, comfort and safety.”

PERC offers the following advice to help construction professionals stay safe and warm this winter:

At sites using propane cylinders to power heaters:
  • Ensure that propane cylinders are in good condition without bulges, dents, excessive rust or signs of fire damage.
  • Always transport cylinders to the job site in an upright and secured position.
  • Do not use a cylinder indoors that holds more than 100 pounds of propane.
  • Connect no more than three 100-pound propane cylinders to one manifold inside a building. All manifolds should be separated by at least 20 feet of space.
  • Check all cylinders for leaks with a suitable leak detector solution—not soap and water, which may have corrosive properties.
At sites using external propane tanks to power heaters:
  • Locate tanks a sufficient distance from property lines and the structure under construction. Consult local building codes to ensure proper compliance.
  • Place the tank on stable ground, and when locating the tank consider the potential effects of freezing and thawing.
  • Use rigid piping from the tank to the building. Flexible tubing may be safely used indoors.
  • Have a qualified propane technician ensure that all connections between the tank and heater are free of leaks.
  • Protect tanks and piping on the work site from the possibility of vehicle impact.
  • Do not store combustible material within 10 feet of any tank.
When using salamanders and other propane heaters:
  • Choose a heater that’s sized appropriately for the square footage you want to heat.
  • Keep heaters away from potentially combustible materials.
  • Only operate heaters in ventilated areas. Make sure there’s sufficient air both for combustion and to prevent carbon monoxide accumulation.
  • Use only those heaters with 100 percent safety shut-off valves.
  • When the project is complete, first turn off gas at the container valve to drain hoses or pipes before shutting off the heater itself.
  • Only allow a qualified LP gas technician to make any repairs to faulty equipment.

While kerosene and electric heaters are also available, propane is the cleanest and smartest fuel choice for job site heating. Kerosene heaters can produce an undesirable film on nearby equipment or walls. Electric heaters can’t generate nearly as many BTUs as propane-fueled heaters and they put additional load on the mobile generators used to produce electricity for power tools used around the job site.

“When it comes to heating a temporary construction site, and for other uses around the job site, propane’s benefits are clear,” Kidd adds. “Because it’s a low-carbon, alternative fuel, construction professionals who use propane-powered heaters, generators, light towers and other equipment can maintain a cleaner environment without sacrificing power or performance.”

For more information about the benefits of using clean, efficient propane on residential or commercial building sites, learning about new propane-powered products, or considering the financial incentives available on propane equipment purchases, visit the Build With Propane website.

Snow-retention System Designed Specifically for New Elementary School

Alton Hall Elementary School, Galloway, Ohio, recognized the need for snow retention and specified the Sno Barricade from Sno Gem Inc. to be attached to the standing-seam roof.

Alton Hall Elementary School, Galloway, Ohio, recognized the need for snow retention and specified the Sno Barricade from Sno Gem Inc. to be attached to the standing-seam roof.

Providing a safe and healthy environment for students is clearly a high-ranking consideration in the construction of an elementary school. Architects for the Alton Hall Elementary School in Galloway, Ohio, recognized the need for snow retention and specified the Sno Barricade from Sno Gem Inc. to be attached to the standing-seam roof.

“We specified the Sno Barricade because of its proven durability and performance,” says Mike Parkinson, associate project manager at SHP Leading Design of Cincinnati. “We’ve used the Sno Barricade on dozens of projects. I can’t remember the last time it wasn’t on one of our projects. The system is designed specifically for each project by Sno Gem. With the design criteria, they run calculations for the project and prescribed a two-rail system around the entire roof to protect the occupants from potential sliding snow and ice.”

With a layout of the standing-seam metal roof, considering slope, length of run, panel width, annual snowfall and other factors, Sno Gem calculates the best snow-retention solution. “Every metal roofing layout is different and each one requires its own calculations,” notes Jim Carpenter, vice president of Operations at Sno Gem. “Our calculations are based on results obtained from extensive testing of our clamps.”

After receiving the design criteria, Sno Gem ran calculations for the project and prescribed a two-rail system around the entire roof.

After receiving the design criteria, Sno Gem ran calculations for the project and prescribed a two-rail system around the entire roof.

For the Alton Hall Elementary School, the Sno Barricade was prescribed by Sno Gem. Rush Architectural Metal Erectors Inc. of Washington, Pa., installed 1,850 linear feet of the Sno Barricade around 100 percent of the perimeter of the building. R.A.M.E. also installed the Barricade Plate on Alton Hall. The Barricade Plate is an accessory designed to hold back thinner amounts of ice and snow that could pass beneath the bar. The Barricade Plate is installed on the upslope side of the bar in the middle of the panel. It’s held in place by a tek screw, not visible from the ground. Like the Sno Barricade, the Barricade Plate is available in a color to match any roofing panels.

The Barricade Plate is an accessory designed to hold back thinner amounts of ice and snow that could pass beneath the bar.

The Barricade Plate is an accessory designed to hold back thinner amounts of ice and snow that could pass beneath the bar.

“Sliding snow and ice is a dangerous problem building owners don’t have to deal with any more because of engineered snow-retention systems,” adds Albert Rush, owner of R.A.M.E. “The Sno Barricade attaches easily and securely without penetrating the panel, so it doesn’t compromise any roofing warranties. The addition of the Barricade Plate provides peace of mind for the occupants, as well as the school district.”