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Innovation & Startups

How cool is your roof? Check out the options on top at the region's first sustainable roof project

How many ways are there to green a roof?

Quite a few, actually. Burns & Scalo has unveiled a unique rooftop demonstration project in Crafton that illustrates the many ways that solar arrays, sustainable rooftop gardens and energy-saving roof products can save money for commercial customers. The Scalo Solar Sunscape Demonstration Project is a living research laboratory and training center not just for companies but also university researchers who are studying the latest ways to put solar energy to work, explains TJ Willetts, director of marketing.

"In about 10 years, we think people will ask one another what kind of solar technology they have on their roofs the same way they're asking about cell phones now," says Willetts. "It’s the technology of the future. It's such a great story for Pittsburgh."

Burns & Scalo has been in the roofing business for years, so moving into solar made sense. The demo project is a working lab of three energy-producing photovoltaic technologies-- polycrystalline modules, cylindricals and thin film photovoltaic panels--five different vegetative green roof garden systems and the latest in efficiency products including daylights and reflective roof membranes.

Sustainable roof projects show a return within five years, Scalo says. Buildings that use a combination of solar arrays and vegetative garden systems are generally finding energy savings of 38 percent.

Key is the project's educational component, says Willetts. Thirty data sensors monitor energy generation, information that will be used by researchers to study the benefits of the technologies. Project partners include Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Green Building Alliance, Three Rivers Clean Energy and the Center for Roofing Innovation.

“This project will generate an extensive amount of research data that will shape how we integrate sustainability in our buildings for generations to come,” says Jack Scalo, president and CEO of Scalo Solar Solutions.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: TJ Willetts, Scalo Solar Solutions

 

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