Demand for alternative energy is driving innovation in metal roofing systems

This article is part 2 of a series on sustain-ability in the built environment, aimed at professionals, specifiers and owners looking to green building best practise. They focus specifically on the role played by metal roofing and cladding systems in creating better buildings.

Escalating electricity prices and Eskom’s supply constraints have forced SA building owners to look at alternative energy sources, particularly solar energy. Roof-top solar panel installations have seen a dramatic spike in demand.

This move is supported by the introduction of SANS 10400-XA legislation which specifically promotes thermal efficiency of buildings.  It requires that the roof structure achieves specified R values to contribute to the overall thermal performance of the building envelope.  

“The local roofing industry, which had seen little change in decades has, as a result of both these factors, suddenly started making giant strides in improved roofing installation practises, and new products to meet with the alternative energy co-generation, and with the SANS XA requirements,” said Rainer Straussner, Business Head of Safintra Southern Africa.

Anticipating this change over year ago, Safintra obtained the sole agency for S-5 clamps, the world’s leading clamp and PV attachment systems for metal roofs.

“The need is for components that are able to secure solar panels to the roof with least weight, and in the case of concealed fix roofs, to do so without any fastener penetration which will void roof material warranties,” he explains.

“An equally important issue is the matter of warranties on the various components that make up a roofing system. “For example, a solar panel commonly has a warrantee of 30 years and a steel roof has a warrantee of 15 years or more, but most PV mounting systems offer a limited warrantee, if any at all, meaning that expensive and possibly damaging maintenance is required during the service life of the roof in order to replace small components that have weathered.”

Safintra will furnish clients with a 20-30 year warrantee on its entire roofing system, including the steel roof, fasteners, clamps and PV attachment components, all of which match the life of the PV panel and minimise maintenance costs, says Straussner.

And as part of its total solutions drive, Safintra has set up a specialised engineering department to assist owners, architects, specifiers and engineers with calculations pertaining to thermal efficiency on buildings.

Is metal roofing the way forward?

Steel is a sustainable material that is 100% recyclable and is a product with exceptional green credentials, which is increasingly being specified by environmentally conscious companies building for green star ratings which reduce energy usage, and are therefore particularly attractive to tenants.  By creating a roof system which has high thermal performance, and is ideal for solar panel attachment, the roof is becoming the hardest working part of the building envelope. 
“And we continue to innovate… this is just the start of a range of offerings which make steel roofing the greenest option around.  Safintra will continue to lead the field not only in SA but in the greater sub region” states Straussner.


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Branches in SA : Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein
Further operations in:  Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, and East Africa.