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Metal Shines as Design Solution Clients benefit from durability and low life-cycle costs of metal walls and roofs

photo Courtesy the metal initiative

by toy henson

WHEN architects and building owners require an attractive and affordable roof or wall system for a commercial or institutional project, chances are metal will be at or near the top their list of material candidates. To be sure, there’s no shortage of commercial metal roof or wall systems from which to choose. And metal is extremely competitive with other exterior facade options because of its low life-cycle cost. The improved thermal performance of metal wall and roof systems can provide significant savings in a building owner’s energy costs. Moreover, the light weight of these materials makes them especially cost effective in multi-story tower additions because of the significant savings they generate due to lower structural loading requirements. Their long-term durability and reduced maintenance costs also yield significant economic dividends for building owners.

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Discovery Springs Medical Center in Middleton, Wis., is clad with more than 20,000 square feet of aluminum composite wall panels to convey a high-tech image. The sleek look was requested by its lead healthcare tenants, including a major dental and cosmetic surgery practice.

Metal roofs and walls contribute significantly to the “green” building movement because of their high recycled content, recyclability, sustainability, and energy efficiency. For example, at least 25 percent of the steel used in today’s metal roofs and walls has been recycled. This level of recycled content reduces both the cost and environmental impact of making new steel since it conserves energy and lowers requirements for natural raw materials. The use of recycled steel also helps earn points in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental De-

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