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Arbor Real

Custom-Bilt Metals

On the storied El Camino Real (Spanish for “The Royal Road”) in Palo Alto, Calif., a new kind of development is rising from the ground. Composed of 11 single-family homes, 129 attached condominiums and 41 detached condominiums, Arbor Real is a far cry from the missions, presidios and pueblos that once lined the 600-mile-long road that connects San Diego to Sonoma.

Located 35 miles south of San Francisco, Palo Alto isn’t interested in “business as usual.” On June 2, 2008, the city passed a green building ordinance, which requires “commercial and residential projects to incorporate green building measures,” effectively steering development in a more sustainable direction. New construction will be regulated to adhere to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Rating System™ and California’s somewhat less stringent Build It Green program, which uses the GreenPoint Rated Rating SystemTM.

Although it broke ground before the city’s green building ordinance was adopted, Arbor Real includes environmentally sensitive components, not the least of which is its roofing. The DR Horton community used 18-inch, SL1750 Titan standing seam metal roofing from Custom-Bilt Metals exclusively. The color palette is appropriate for the region and building color scheme, and includes Weathered Copper, Parchment, and Zinc Grey. A fourth color, Medium Bronze, was a custom formulation for the project.

The Custom-Bilt Metals roofs were chosen for their value and good looks by Robert Rodriguez, president of San Benito Heating & Sheet Metal Corporation in Hollister, California. Because of the scale of the project, DR Horton chose to bring in Petersendean Roofing Systems of Newark, Calif., to accommodate the developer’s fast-paced construction schedule.

“Product value, durability, good looks and cool roof benefits were all factors in our decision to choose Custom-Bilt Metals for Arbor Real,” says Rodriguez. “When you add in Custom-Bilt Metals’ knowledgeable staff and customer service capabilities, it makes the decision easy.”

The Custom-Bilt Metal roofs boast the Kynar 500 Paint System with Ultra-Cool coatings, which reflects up to 40 percent of the sun’s heat and helps to increase energy efficiency by reducing the demand on each unit’s cooling system—a direct nod to Palo Alto’s green-minded ordinance. Covered with these heat-reflective coatings, these Cool Roof colors meet the Energy Star criteria for cool roofs, resulting lower energy bills for the homeowners.

Most homeowners see an approximately 20 percent drop in their energy bills after installing a Cool Roof from Custom-Bilt Metals. The U.S. EPA corroborates this figure, which can translate to upwards of $450 in annual energy saving.

Even though Arbor Real was not subject to Palo Alto’s new green building ordinance—which does not require metal roofing—the Cool Roof products demonstrate they’re ahead of the trend toward regulated green building. For example, a cool, prepainted metal roof can qualify for one point in Credit 7.2 of the LEED Sustainable Sites category if it covers at least 75 percent of the roof surface area and meets certain criteria for Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) values. A cool metal roof also will contribute to points in other credits where recycled content, recyclability, energy optimization, and water collection properties are included in a whole-building, weighted-average approach.

For the end user, though, Arbor Real’s success will depend on its durable beauty and energy performance. “Our architectural review board wanted a more modern look, and they’ve also been asking applicants what they’re doing with regard to green building and sustainability issues,” says Curtis Williams, interim director of planning for the City of Palo Alto. “And, while the ordinance isn’t so specific as to require metal roofing or advocate one measure over another, metal roofing would provide that contemporary appeal, and cool roof products would be consistent with the green building requirements.”

About Custom-Bilt Metals

Custom Bilt Last Time logoCustom-Bilt Metals offers metal roofing systems. For more information, visit

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