A green agenda. Historical guidelines. A nautical theme. There was a lot to consider for the architect charged with designing Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Solomons, MD. Fortunately for the Archdiocese of Washington, Cook Architecture of Falls Church, VA, was acquainted with Englert metal roofing. A jobsite-fabricated standing seam metal system from Englert checked all of the boxes for the project, providing the desired look and sustainable qualities that were primary to the design.
The 15,000 sq. ft. church was designed to fit the footprint of a small jut of land where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay in Solomons. The building makes no attempt to replicate the historic architecture of the area, though its contemporary design was respectful enough to earn the required approval of the Historic Solomon Architectural Commission.
The church’s main frame is structural steel resting on thrust beams at its corners. The walls are concrete masonry units (CMU) covered inside and out with Alaska White brick with white mortar. The interior has hand-split Pennsylvania blue stone flooring and a VTG red cedar cathedral ceiling. Topping the building is 37,000 square feet of Englert Series 2500 standing seam metal roofing.
The 16”-wide Dove Gray panels were installed by Orndorff Spaid Roofing of Beltsville, Maryland. In addition to complementing the roof form’s lantern and spire, which serves as a landmark by day and a maritime beacon by night, the restrained color of the roof blends with the church’s other exterior materials while also providing the desired degree of long term protection against storms.
The cool qualities of the roof’s paint finish, which meets Energy Star® and LEED™ requirements for reflectivity and emissivity, meshed perfectly with the energy efficiency goals for the project. The architect super-insulated the roof and walls (R50 in ceiling, R30 in walls and R20 at slab edge) and specified a two- zone, hybrid heating and cooling system to further enhance the building’s energy efficiency.
Green features in addition to the recyclable metal roof include a water run-off collection efficiency of more than 95 percent, providing natural irrigation for landscaping and the potential to garner up to eight LEED points. Recharging the water table is accomplished through deep gravel drains surrounding the church and water retention ponds that prevent runoff from major storms. Rip rap barriers, backed with marine soil covered with native grasses, were added too for erosion control and wildlife refuge along shoreline on both sides of the site. LEED silver certification is under consideration for the project.