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Benefits of Green Metal Roofing

How would you like to have an environmentally friendly roof that provides unbeatable protection for your home, a long service life with virtually no maintenance, and offers the biggest long term return on your investment? A metal roofing system will give you all that and more. As a homeowner, you may not be thinking of metal roofing as a viable option, since conventional roofing systems such as asphalt shingle are still the easy, cheap and most common choice. However, if you are interested in replacing your old roof, or need a roof for a newly constructed house, installing a metal roof will give you the most benefits. Moreover, if you are a forward thinking proponent of green building, energy efficiency, and green living, then Eco-friendly metal roofing should be your material of choice.

Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient Metal Roof

Consider the following benefits of metal roofing:

1. Superior protection for your home

No matter what climate you live in, there are adverse natural elements such as snow, hail, rain, wind and fire that put your house at risk. A metal roof will keep your house safe in all weather conditions.

-A metal roof sheds snow and ice, preventing the formation of ice dams which are the biggest cause of leaks in conventional roofs. If you live on the east coast are tired of your roof constantly needing repair after winter snow storms, a metal roof will save you the trouble and the money of constant repairs.

-A metal roof is highly resistant to hail damage. In the hail belt regions of the US, insurance commissions grant metal roofing materials the highest rating on impact resistance to hail.

-A metal roof is able to withstand winds of up 110 miles per hour and higher, which means that during hurricane season it will stay in tact, when other roofing systems will be blown off. If you live in hurricane prone states such as Taxes, Florida and Louisiana, investing in a metal roof is the best thing you can do for your house.

– A metal roof will not rot or crack, providing you with excellent corrosion protection.

– A metal roof will not catch of fire. This has the dual benefit of not having to spend money to buy a new roof in case of fire, and also reduced your home insurance premiums. A steel roof is the most fire safe roof. It gets the highest rating and is classified as a noncombustible roofing material.

2. Long service life and low maintenance

-If you have a metal roof that was properly installed, its service life is typically 2-3 times longer than of other conventional roofing systems, such as asphalt shingles.

-A metal roof is very durable and withstands most weather elements, climate change and does not leak. This means that you will have a really easy time maintaining it. A metal roof will save you the hassle and stress associated with roof repair such as disruptions to family life, noise, debris, preparation and clean up.

3. Financial Savings

-The superior durability and longevity of a metal roof directly translates into major financial savings. Once you have a metal roof, you will not need to spend money on routine roof repairs whether you do them yourself or pay even more and hire a professional roofing contractor. Moreover, you will be saving money by not having to replace any of your personal items and doing interior repairs that would result from a leaking roof.

-A metal roof is a wise financial investment that ultimately pays for itself. Unlike a conventional roof, a metal roof upraises the value of your house and increases curb appeal. For example, an asphalt shingles roof that is more than 10 years old actually decreases the value of your house because of the major repair issues associated with it. On the contrary, if you ever sell your house outfitted with a metal roof, you will get most of the cost of the roof back through the resale value, as well as attract many more prospective buyers.

– You can also save money by getting green building tax credits that metal roofs qualify for as a green roofing material.

– A metal roof will literally be the last roof you will ever buy, saving yourself thousands of dollars in roof replacement costs. To compare, a well-maintained asphalt shingles roof still needs to be replaced every 17 years.

4. Energy Savings

-By installing a metal roof you will enjoy considerable energy savings since a metal roof reflects 90% of solar radiant heat, keeping your house cool. This means that a metal roof will reduce your cooling costs will be reduced by about 40%. If you live in areas that are hot year round, having a metal roof can save you a lot of money.

– If you live in a cold climate, a metal roof will make your house warmer in the winter by reflecting inside heat from the underside of the roof back into the house. This will significantly reduce your heating costs in the winter.

5. An environmentally friendly, green choice.

– A metal roof can be outfitted with solar panels, which will allow you to further decrease your reliance on conventional energy sources.

– A metal roof is 100% recyclable. This means that after its long service life it will not be disposed into our landfills, which are already overflowing with millions of tons of none-recyclable roofing materials.

– A metal roof contains at least 25 % recycled content, which means that buying a metal roof is a green choice that supports our environment.

– Since a metal roof is light weight, it can be easily installed over your old roof, eliminating the need to take it the landfill.

– A metal roof helps to reduce the “urban heat island” effect, thereby reducing the demand on utilities for electricity, most of which is generated by the burning of fossil fuels. This in turn contributes to reduced green house gas emissions and cleaner air.


Environmental Benefits of Cool Roofs

Green buildings incorporate many elements of design that help reduce energy spending, mitigate negative environmental aspects and improve the health and well-being of the people who live and work inside. One element of green design that provides all of these great benefits is a cool roof. Cool roofs have been around for quite some time, and they continue to grow in popularity as the roofing material of choice for home-owners and business who care about the environment. Despite the many benefits and real financial savings that cool roofs offer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 90% of ALL roofs in the U.S. are still dark colored. This is in part due to aesthetic preferences, but mostly it is due to a lack of consumer education on the benefits of cool roofs, as well as the variety of color and style choice available in the cool roof building materials.

What is a Cool Roof?

It is a misconception that a cool roof needs to be white in order to have its cool properties. A cool roof is one that reflects sunlight and radiates absorbed heat as light energy back to the atmosphere, instead of transferring absorbed heat to the building below (this is what a black roof does). Both properties are measured as a fraction or percent, and the higher the value, the “cooler” the roof. There is no universally accepted definition for a cool roof in terms of reflectance and emittance.

Obtaining a rating for a cool roof material

Minimum requirements of what material can be considered a cool roof are set by organizations that maintain building codes and voluntary green building programs. When you are looking for cool roofing materials for your home or office, you should consider obtaining information from such an organization. For example, the Cool Roofing Council, established in 1998 is an independent, non-profit rating entity that measures roofing product surfaces for radiative properties. Through the Cool Roofing Council, roofing product manufacturers and sellers can measure their products’ radiative properties. Tests of cool roofing material samples are conducted in the Cool Roofing Council’s independent laboratories. Manufactures can also get their cool roofing products listed on the CRRC’s online Rated Products Directory. Moreover, the Cool Roofing Council also provides third-party verification of radiative property data on roofing products, which is a really useful tool for consumers who are looking for the right cool roof technology.

Cool Roofing Choices

Today, cool roof technology is highly advanced, and cool roofs come in a variety of different colors, including dark colors, made possible by the cool color technology, which uses dark-colored pigments that are highly reflective in the near-infrared (non-visible) portion of the solar spectrum. Moreover cool roof technologies now come in a great variety of roofing products such as shingles, tiles, metal roofing, modified bitumen, field-applied coatings, or cool flat single-ply membranes roofs. You can be sure that there is a “cool” version available that will meet your aesthetic and energy saving needs.

Benefits of Cool Roofs

The US department of energy has conducted a careful analysis of the benefits of cool roofs and has found that cool roofs save money while helping the environment. If you have a roof and its black, its absorbing energy from the sun, and its getting hot, and it increases air conditioning bills. If you have a white or a reflective roof that scatters back the visible radiation, of course it reduces your energy consumption. The really incredible thing about a cool roof is that it also reflects that energy back into space. As a result, there is very little green house gas effect for visible light. It is the heat light that is being trapped by carbon dioxide, the water vapor and other gases. As a result, a cool roof helps keep the earth cool as well; it not only your home that is being cooled, the earth is also being cooled. This evidence has lead The US department of energy to launch an initiative where it is installing cool roofs whenever financially possible.

Moreover, research has shown that cool roofs can extend the lifespan of a roof, which in turn helps cut maintenance costs and reduces the creation of unnecessary waste. Regular roofing material wear out as a result of extreme daily cycles of infrared (IR) radiation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and moisture penetration. On the contrary, cool roofs reflect the UV and IR radiation, and keep the roof at a more constant temperature. As a result, they are able to slow down the rate of degradation.

Ultimately, as we transition to cleaner sources of energy, the cleaner source of energy is one you do not have to generate in a way that negatively impacts your lifestyle and our earth. Installing a cool roof is one way to make this happen, while also enjoying the immediate personal benefits of lower energy and maintenance bills.


Standing Seam Metal Roof with Solar Panels

A metal roof with built-in solar panels is the most energy efficient and longest lasting solar roofing solution. A metal roof will usually last in excess of 50 years, and solar PV panels usually last 30+ years with minimal loss of efficiency or or electric power production. The combination of the two creates a one-time green roofing investment that will pay for itself over time, and then it will produce free electricity. Such a smart combination eliminates the chance of roof leaks, since there are no roof penetrations, and gives a homeowner piece of mind and confidence in their green metal roof.

Why go with a metal roof, instead of asphalt shingles:

Why would you want to install PV solar panels with a metal roof, instead of installing it on the existing asphalt shingle roof? The answer is very simple; asphalt shingles last an average of 15 years, while your solar panels should last at least 30 years. That means that even if you install your solar panels over a brand new asphalt shingles roof, you will have to remove the whole solar system in 15 years, replace the roof, and then put the solar panels back onto the roof. With the installation costs of a solar PV system being about $2 per watt, and an average solar system size of 3 KW, you will have to pay an extra $6000 (in today’s dollars, before any inflation is calculated) to reinstall your solar panels, and another $1500-2000 to
remove the panels, so that the roof can be replaced. With today’s average solar system price of $9-11 including solar panels, inverter, all wiring, rack-mounting system, permits, installation, etc.), the removal and re-installation price amounts to about 25% of the total solar system cost.

A properly installed standing seam metal roof will easily outlast any asphalt shingles roof by 3 time or more, and it will also outlast a warranty period on any solar panels. When your solar panels get old, and start producing less electricity than what they were designed for, you will have an option to either keep the old solar panels or install the new ones (as a side-note – average efficiency loss of a solar panel is 0.5% per year or 10% over a 20 year warranty period). All your infrastructure will already be in place, and you can simply swap the old solar panels for the new ones. You may also have to swap the charge controller / inverter. In 20 or 30 years, as technology progresses, the efficiency of solar panels and inverters will be much higher, and the cost per watt will be considerably lower. At the same time you will still have your metal roof, performing at 100% efficiency – being leak free and beautiful, that is.

Installing solar panels on a standing seam metal roof

Solar panels can be attached to a standing seam metal roof in two different ways. One is to use a thin film Solar PV panel laminated inside the pan of a standing seam metal roof – a so called solar metal roofing concept, when solar panels are integrated with the roofing material. The limitations of solar metal roofing include lower efficiency (per sq. foot or sq. meter) of the solar PV laminates. Therefore you would need double the roof area to get the same number of kW of a solar system. Also the size limitation of each solar PV laminate (18 feet long panels) make it impossible to install them on roofs with a roof run of less than 18.5 feet.

A better way to install solar panels onto a metal roof is to use S-5 clips or mounting brackets, specially designed to add adequate strength and support of rack-mounting systems installed on standing seam metal roofs. S-5 clops are made of cast aluminum blocks, with stainless steel tightening screws. S-5 clips are attached to the ribs or locks of a standing seam panel, and provide great pullout ratio, meeting and exceeding Miami-Dade county building code requirements for wind uplift.

Image of Solar Metal Roofing s-5 clamp

S-5 Solar Panel mounting clamps allow for a quick and inexpensive installation of the solar rack-mounting system. Solar panels can be attached directly to the clamps, or to horizontal / vertical rails. The overall cost of such solar racking system is reduced from about $1 per watt, to about 50 cents per watt, or less. Also, you do not have to worry about any roof leaks, as there are no roof penetrations, and all mounting hardware is attached to the ribs of the metal roof panels.

You can also get a double tax credit for your solar roofing installation – Your first tax credit would be a 30% tax credit for solar panels, and and another one – up to $1500 cool roof tax credit. An average cost of metal roofing materials will exceed $5000 per roof, so you will be able to get a full 30% cool roof tax credit. With today’s metal roofing prices for steel standing seam ranging from $15000-20000, a $1500 tax credit will save you about 7-10% off your lifetime metal roof.


Green Home Building and Remodeling

When it comes to home building and remodeling, much has changed in the last few years, with a clear shift in technologies, building materials and practices to more green homes. Savvy homeowners are quickly catching on to this new trend, looking to not only be environmentally conscious consumers, but to also take advantage of the numerous benefits that green homes afford, such as exceptional durability, energy savings, and improved quality of life. With a quickly growing number of informational resources, a slew of new products, service and construction companies, etc, you can keep yourself grounded and on track by focusing on the essentials of any green home.

What makes a new or remodeled home eco-friendly are the following components: a tight building envelope/insulation, roofing, siding, windows and heating system, all built utilizing green materials. These earth – friendly building materials are manufactured with a minimal amount of hazardous materials, are proven to last for decades without requiring maintenance and repairs, do not waste energy and can be recycled at the end of their service lives.

Tight Building Envelope/Insulation

A tight building envelope and high quality insulation are necessary to achieve superior durability and energy efficiency. If you already have a house and it does not have insulation, consider adding blown-in cellulose product. Not only is it eco-friendly (derived from 85 percent recycled paper products), but it is also three times more dense than fiberglass, thereby greatly reducing your home’s energy waste. For new construction, consider fiberglass or spray-foam insulation. While more expensive than fiberglass, spray-foam insulation offers tighter, more dense and more energy-efficient insulation for your walls and ceilings. On the other hand, one of the major benefits of fiberglass is that it is removable, and does not require any special equipment to install.

Roofing That Lasts

The roof is one of the most important components of making your home safe, durable and long lasting, and yet it is often the most overlooked. Installing a green roof on your home will prove to be one of the most financially sound home improvements you make. You will not know the pain of roof damage and leaks and will not have to deal with costly, maintenace, repairs and replacements for years to come.

When it comes to green roofing materials, you have a few choices depending on your home type, taste and budget. If you have a sloped roof home, one of the best investments you can make is to install a metal roof. Metal is considered to be the only truly green roofing material, when you factor in the manufacturing process, lifecycle costs, longevity, high energy efficiency and recyclability and the end of the roof’s service life. Metal roofs are considered cool roofs, which means that they reflect solar heat, thereby reducing energy waste produced by the home’s HVAC system throughout the year. A metal roof can save you up to 15% on your annual cooling costs. Additionally, during winter time, metal roofs eliminate ice dams, which can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your house. Keep in mind that metal roofing installation is a highly intricate process that requires specialized knowldege, equipment and training, and therefore should only be left to metal roofing professionals. One such company that operates in the Northeast is New England Metal Roof (

If you have a low slope/flat roof, a green material to go with is PVC single ply roofing membrane. A PVC roofing system is designed as a green roofing material. PVC is a fully recyclable roofing material that does not use any petrolium products in its manufacturing process. It also offers superior energy efficiency by reflecting upto 95% of solar heat. PVC is designed to last over 40 years and can be easily repaired if needed, which elimates costly replacements and landfill waste. Moreover, PVC roofs can withstand ponding water, ice build-ups and can be easily be applied around most complicated roof penetrations.

Green Siding

Amongst the wide range of choices available for siding, fiber-cement siding stands out as the green choice. It is composed of 50% recycled content and wood fiber pulp that is sourced from sustainably managed forests. While fiber cement siding may be a more costly option, it is more durable than wood and vinyl siding. It also requires very little maintenance, does not create hazardous waste when removed, and can be further recycled.

Another green choice to consider is steel or aluminum wall panel systems. With a variety of available integrated insulation, ventilation and heat absorption metal wall panel systems, you can reduce your heating and cooling energy consumption, by as much as 40%. Additionally, these systems are fully recyclable and are manufactured from up to 95% recycled metal.

Energy Efficient Windows

Windows are one of the most vulnerable parts of the home, through which both hot and cold air can escape, wasting tons of energy and driving up your heating and cooling costs throughout the year. To avoid these issues, its crucial to invest in energy efficient windows. Consider installing fiber glass frame windows with triple glazing and argon/krypton gas, which can offer up to 7R insulating value (a typical double pane window is only 3R). There are also specialty window products filled with heat absorbing liquid that absorb solar heat in the winter. These windows can supply up to 75% of your heating for the entire house, even on a very cold night.

Green Heating Systems

If your goal is to have a truly eco-friendly home, then a geothermal heating system is the way to go. Geothermal heating uses thermal energy stored inside the ground and extracts it by using a heat exchange process. This system only requires 25% of the energy to operate, when compared to traditional gas or oil systems of the same size. A geothermal system can also be used for air conditioning in the summer.

Geothermal heating systems are a costly investment, so if you are not ready to make the switch, consider going with gas heating. Gas heating is cleaner, more efficient and currently costs half the price of oil.

In case you have a south-facing roof, you can install solar thermal panels, which will heat your water throughout the year, and will also supplement your radiant heating system.


The waterproof, military, portable power pack

ammocanI was having a discussion with a buddy of mine, and he mentioned an outfit that was selling a waterproof battery pack in a hardened package.  It used a 12v 5ah NiMH battery pack, and included a waterproof 12v power port. At an asking price of over $220, I felt this was a ripoff, but the concept is valid. I knew I could design a better solution, so I came up with a 10ah, and 20ah version, for about half the cost, with some nice options like built in  usb ports (cellphone, mp3, and kindle charging) and solar recharging.


So Here Goes:


One surplus ammo can, water proof, can hold two 12v 10ah battery packs (20ah total)

One 8 D cell holder (12v) (get a 10 cell holder if you can find one, or just add a 2 cell holder in series), add a second set for 20ah capacity instead of 10ah.

One set of  eight 10ah NiMH D cells + 2 more for 12vdc (second set for 20ah).  Alkaline D’s are 1.5v (8 = 12v) but NiMH are 1.2v (10 = 12v).

One marine waterproof 12v power port (can connect the solar panel here for charging, or add a second one)

Optional waterproof dual usb charging port

Optional 40 watt solar panel (add a second one for the 20ah solution).

Optional second ammo can to hold a 150 watt inverter until it’s needed for low wattage ac gadgets, like a laptop or portable tool charger.

As long as the charge rate is C5 or greater, you don’t need a charger, as solar is only going to charge 3-5 hours full sun daily anyway. A 10ah battery / C10 = 1 amp charge rate. Divided by C5 = a 2 amp charge rate.

You could also add a 1amp 12vdc power pack for ac charging. Charging at higher rates than 2 amps require temperature monitoring and a smart charger, which we will be building at







Englert Building Integrated Solar Thermal, PV and Rainwater Harvesting

The folks at Englert have a novel system that integrates a solar thermal system with their standing seam metal roofs (up to 35 year warranty), and offers a PV option. Produce your solar heated water for heating (hydronic) and domestic hot water, produce grid tied power, and harvest rain water for toilet, laundry and irrigation. Check out their system at Englert Environmental.

What we do on the roof is important because what happens below the roof is critical. More than a decade ago, we began imagining the roofing systems architects, builders and homeowners could use to face their most common environmental challenges.

Imagine a roofing system that protects your home or building, keeping it cool in summer, warm in winter and providing all the hot water and electricity you require.

Now envision a roofing system that captures 95 percent of its rainwater runoff, channels it through a debris-proof gutter system and deposits it in a rainwater harvesting tank for immediate use.

Today Englert Environmental is a leading provider of renewable energy solutions where metal roofing and gutters systems play a critical role in collecting solar energy and harvesting rainwater.

Partnering with key technology and service providers, including the foremost photovoltaic, inverter and mounting solution providers and the nation’s principal source of commercial and residential rain water harvesting systems, Englert provides world leading, best-of-breed technology, products and services.


Tips on Weatherproofing Doors and Windows

It’s that time of year, when the chill in the air finds it’s way into your living room. Reduce your energy bills, and increase your comfort, by weatherproofing your home.

Does it feel drafty, even though the windows and doors are shut tight? If so, it might be time to add or replace weather stripping to the doors and seal up the windows.



Read this recently. Good stuff. We recommend you download this free resource, and take control of your water supply.

Featuring the Brazilian Ball Pre-Filter System: A Case Study

By Brock Dolman and Kate Lundquist

Photographs by Jim Coleman and Brock Dolman
Illustrations by Jim Coleman


Well On Hold, Lets Go Roofwater Harvesting

Nathaniel has headed back to Texas, and will spend some time redeveloping his drilling apparatus, based on the rock samples he took here. In the meantime, our focus will shift to Roofwater Harvesting. We have built quite a collection of books and materials on the subject, and are confident this is a project we can handle ourselves. As are most projects at Green-Trust, this one is DIY in nature, and our goal is to provide enough information that the reader can duplicate our successes, and avoid our disappointments.

We have uploaded a free PDF document called Roofwater Harvesting at that is a very good resource. Although written for the humid tropics, our rainfall here in NY is similar in quantity and distribution.

The steps we need to take are:

  • Rebuild the damaged rain gutters and add new ones where missing.
  • Connect distribution pipes from the gutters to the filter and cistern.
  • Connect our existing 12vdc piston pump to the cistern.

Since we live in a cold climate where winter temperatures hit -40 degrees, above ground tanks are out of the question. We will be installing a 1000 gallon precast concrete tank available locally for $600 delivered into our hole.


A Seven Year Battle Against Fraud to Maintain the Turgo Turbine Design in Public Domain

For over seven years Joseph Hartvigsen of Hartvigsen Hydro (Utah,USA) and Peter Ruyter of Cargo and Kraft (Sweden) have used the Internet to successfully prevent the alternative energy community around the world from using the turgo water turbine design, and continue to do so. (See recent archives, This was accomplished by posting very strongly worded claims to ownership of the turgo design on the world’s biggest micro hydro discussion site, 

Hartvigsen and Ruyter started making these claims when they began producing and selling this type of turbine them selves. Their company is now the largest producer of this particular design. The prevention of the public from using this design has been a great loss to the world wide alternative energy community. This turgo design is generally the best all around type of turbine wheel for small scale water power uses. It is very easy to build in small local workshops, or in schools. Uniquely, this design has the potential to revive the use of small scale water power. Small scale water power remains a valuable and nearly untouched resource in many parts of the world.

Over the years Hartvigsen and Ruyter stated a number of times that they would be able to provide definite and clear proof of their design ownership to any competent patent attorney “in minutes”. On Dec. 24,09, Joseph Hartvigsen met with patent attorney Brian Kunzler in Salt Lake City in order to present proof of ownership claims made by himself and supporters on the Internet regarding the turgo design. According to Kunzler Hartvigsen was unable to provide any proof whatsoever that his years of claims to the public were other than completely fraudulent.

Very recently (May 2013) the issue of ownership of this design has again been raised on the water power discussion site. There has been a renewed request to Hartvigsen and Ruyter to present proof of their turgo design ownership claims to the public, which they are still unable to do, or to stop preventing others from using it. They have refused to reply.

In light of an ongoing seven years of apparently fraudulent turgo design ownership claims and various threats of legal action against anyone in the world who would use this design without their consent, the world wide alternative energy community should consider taking some type action against Hartvigsen and Ruyter to prevent them continuing to make these claims to the public and continuing to profit from these claims. At the least the same amount of publicity should be given to the fact that the ownership claims of Hartvigsen and Ruyter were completely false.

This is a matter of concern for the entire alternative energy community. While pretending to be contributing to the use of natural energy Hartvigsen and Ruyter have actually done a great deal with their false design ownership claims to prevent people around the world from using a great source of natural energy, small scale water power.

The exact method which Hartvigsen and Ruyter used to use their fraudulent claims is called “copyfraud”. Copyfraud takes advantage of the relative looseness of copright laws to take over designs in public domain. False ownership claims are made to the public, then can be dropped with little legal consequence if the fraud become untenable. Of course, as any attorney will confirm, the very claim that copyright protection applies to an internal working machine part such as a turbine wheel is in itself fraudulent.


Ron Davis
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