Green Solutions

Buildings account for one-third of all energy and two-thirds of all electricity generated. Mid-West provides customers with a variety of green steel building options to help reduce energy consumption and support green building efforts to foster environmental, economic, health and community improvement. We are committed to the continuation of developing new green building opportunities and innovations for our customers.

The Green in Metal
Metal construction offers several green characteristics including recyclability and durability. In addition, strategically-designed metal construction projects contribute to a building’s improved energy efficiency, can reduce the amount of materials necessary for the building envelope and are often more cost effective than other non-metal construction materials.
Recyclability and Durability
Roof and wall panels, structural members and other building materials composed of steel are virtually 100% recyclable when removed, as opposed to many conventional, non-metal construction materials, which are taken to landfills. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), steel is the most recycled material on the planet, more than all other materials combined. Steel has an extremely high overall recycling rate, which in 2010, stood at 88 percent. Furthermore, new steel made with recycled material uses as little as 26% of the amount of energy required to manufacture steel from iron and other naturally extracted materials.

In addition to recyclability, metal roofs and wall panels can reduce waste due to their unmatched durability and resistance to fire, wind and insects. AISI reports that metal roofs last between 40 – 60 years and require less maintenance than other types of roofs.

Solar Reflectivity and the Solar Reflectance Index
Solar Reflectivity (SR), or reflectance, is the ability of a material to reflect solar energy from its surface back into the atmosphere. The SR “value” is a number from 0 to 1.0. A value of 0 indicates total absorbance. ENERGY STAR requires an initial solar reflectance value of 0.25 or higher for steep slope (more than 2:12) roofing and an initial solar reflectance value of .65 or higher for low slope (2:12 or less) roofing.

Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) is used to determine compliance with LEED requirements and is calculated according to ASTM E 1980 using values for reflectance and emissivity. Emissivity is a material’s ability to release absorbed energy. LEED- NC v3.0, SS credit 7.2, requires roofing material to have an SRI value of 78 or higher for low slope (2:12 or less) roofing or an SRI of 29 or higher for steep-slope (greater than 2:12) roofs.

Cool Colors for Metal Roofing
Mid-West offers cool paint colors for all of our metal roof panels. When used properly, considering the environment and the slope of the roof, a cool roof can reduce energy consumption and provide significant cost savings while helping to reduce urban heat islands (UHIs).

An urban heat island  is an elevation of air temperatures in urban communities, relative to surrounding rural areas, caused when vegetation is replaced by large sections of pavement or other dark, non-reflective surfaces. UHIs are believed to not only influence the temperature of the affected area but are also responsible for higher pollutants in the air.

Many of Mid-West’s cool colors meet the reflectivity and emissivity performance levels required by LEED and ENERGY STAR to mitigate UHIs and energy consumption overall. Reflectivity is the deflection of solar energy from a surface. Roofs at 2:12 slope and greater have been proven to generate less of a heat island effect than lower-sloped roofs. Greater reflectivity requires less energy to cool a building.

Emissivity is the relative ability of a surface to emit heat by radiation. When a roof can effectively cool itself through radiating heat loss, it will reduce the amount of energy consumption for the building.

To learn more about our cool colors for metal roofs or to order contact a Mid-West District Manager

Insulated Metal Panels
Buildings using effective insulation have less long-term impact on the environment due to their ability to reduce energy consumption over an extended period. As a result, the reduction in energy use contributes to the reduction in energy costs. Mid-West offers insulated metal panels that are ideal for numerous roof and wall applications, that when used as part of a strategically-designed green construction project, can improve the building’s energy efficiency, which is measured, in part, by what is known as an R-value. To learn more about our insulated metal panels or to order, please visit the Metl-Span Web site.
Retrofit Roofing
For building owners and architects seeking LEED Certification on an existing building, Mid-West’s retrofit roofing system can help. It uses light-gauge framing in combination with our metal roofing panels. When applied over an existing roof with a specified slope, a retrofit system delivers an aesthetically pleasing effect, while improving SR values and providing water runoff solutions. In addition, if the existing roof materials remain, they can serve as added insulation. And, as a bonus, the old roofing material won’t become waste added to landfills.  NCI’s retrofit framing system is ideally suited for a wide-range of substrates including steel, wood or concrete. The retrofitting technique can also work for new construction as an economical and competitive alternative to prefabricated truss construction. To learn more about our retrofit solutions, contact a Mid-West sales associate.