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The latest news on New York architecture.

When it comes to roofing, it seems like there are a million types to choose from - shingles, tile, metal, slate, membrane, even vegetated. It can be difficult to sift through all of the information and reach a conclusion about which one is the right choice for your building. Today, we are talking specifically about membrane roofing and its benefits for buildings in the city that never sleeps.

What is Membrane Roofing?

Membrane roofing is a roofing system that eliminates the formation of pools of water on flat and low slope roofs. Unlike sloped roof designs with layers of roof shingles or tiles, flat and low slope roofs have a difficult time removing water from their surfaces alone. This system is typically a single layer membrane with no seams that moves water away from areas on the roof where it would otherwise collect.

Types of Membrane Roofing

There are many types of membrane roofing used for flat and low slope roofs. The most popular are:

  • Built-up roofing
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO)

How Membrane Roofing Can Benefit Buildings in NYC

New York receives its fair share of rain and snow every year. The average rainfall every year is 47 inches, while the average snowfall is around 25 inches. That is more than enough precipitation to cause significant damage if it lingers on rooftops. Since most roofs on existing buildings in the city have flat roofs, this could be a real risk if the wrong roofing system is chosen.

Whether your building is new or old, it is important to consider a roofing system that effectively moves water off the roof top year-round. Membrane roofing was created specifically for the types of rooftops that make up New York City’s skyline.

Scott Henson Architect has completed many roof replacement and repair projects, and has knowledge of best practices when it comes to choosing a manufacturer or contractor. For more information, contact us today.

Published in Sustainability

New York City's Facade Inspection Safety Program (FISP), formally known as Local Law 11, requires the facades of buildings of six or more stories to be inspected for safety every five years. This measure was a replacement for Local Law 10, originally enacted in the late 1990’s, which required inspections of only the front side of buildings. The latest inspection period, Cycle 8, started in February 2015 and ends in February 2020.

Assessment

When restoring a building, one of the first steps is giving the building an assessment of its current condition. The structure should be examined, which includes the roof, foundation, walls, gutters, windows and interior leaks. 

Buildings in New York City typically have membrane roofing made of synthetic rubber, modified bitumen or thermoplastic. With flat roofs, it’s important to note any ponding water and other signs of damage. If the roof is slate, it’s important to look for damaged and missing material.

As for the exterior walls, unsafe conditions include items such as loose or cracked bricks, cracked windows, missing mortar, improperly secured air conditioners, and any other conditions which may be dangerous to pedestrians below. Unsafe conditions must be dealt with immediately which involves installing a sidewalk shed within a 30-day period. Then an amended report must be filed confirming the repairs required. Extensions of up to 90 days may be granted if necessary.

Design

The SHA team is a full-service architectural firm. Our goal is to ensure that your building is both functional and beautiful, and we pay special attention to the historic details of the building exterior. In order to complete accurate repairs, we utilize the original materials or replicate them to achieve the appearance of the original design.

Another option for exterior building restoration is adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse projects maintain the historic envelope while updating the interior. Updating the existing interior rather than the construction of a new structure saves money and time. This option is also a means of preserving the history, identity and charm of a city. Adaptive reuse of buildings is also eco-friendly, as fewer building materials are being utilized. 

If you find yourself in need of exterior building restoration or adaptive reuse design projects, contact Scott Henson Architect, located in New York City. Our approach is innovative, sustainable and respectful in order to preserve the integrity of historic structures.

Published in Restoration

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison, 1931

New York City is following Edison's lead and putting its money on the sun and solar energy. One City Built to Last is a plan to reduce New York City's emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC) offers innovative financing options for energy efficiency and resiliency measures, including green mortgages and direct lending products that underwrite energy savings into the loan. The City will also explore modifications to the J-51 housing tax credit and the use of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to encourage additional investments in efficiency measures.

We've all seen the pictures of solar panels sticking out on rooftops, today solar power and renewable energy roof designs don't have to be unattractive. A source book from the NREL shows buildings with different styles and colors of solar arrays. Most panels are blue, brown, and black, but some PV manufacturers can fill special orders for colors such as gold, green, and magenta. Imagine a vegetated roof with jewel-tone solar panels among the greenery. Solar shingles are available in New York too. And yes, New York City gets enough sun for solar roof systems. New York City receives more sunlight than Germany, which has the highest solar penetration per-capita in the world, and is on pace for a record-breaking year of installed solar in 2016. There is even a solar map that shows solar installations the city.

New York City's higher electricity costs and the City's property tax abatement for solar means investments in solar energy pay back more quickly in the City than the rest of the state. Scott Henson Architect believes preservation and adaptive re-use of historic buildings is an effective tool for sustainable stewardship.

Scott Henson Architect can design a beautiful energy-efficient roof for your building that will not only look great but will save you money.

Contact us today to learn more.

Published in Sustainability