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Calcaire House

Components From S-5! Attach Colorado Home's Rooftop Power Grid

Officials in Boulder, CO are serious about energy efficiency. New homes there are required to meet designated energy efficiency standards and the larger the home is, the more stringent those standards become. With the goal to have net-zero homes—homes which produce as much energy as they consume—homeowners there are turning increasingly to rooftop solar. This is good news for metal roofing manufacturers and companies like Colorado Springs-based S-5!, maker of a solar panel installation kit that facilitates the attachment of solar panels to metal roofs, typically without penetrating the metal panel surface or affecting the roof system warranty.

For a small home or an addition to an existing home, a 2kW solar array on the roof might produce enough electricity to meet Boulder’s net-zero expectations. A larger home might need a 20-30kW array. The array featured on the Calcaire House, a sprawling 15,000 sq. ft. modern Colorado compound comprised of five interconnected structures, the solar array is two to three times bigger than the norm and generates an impressive 60kW of electricity.

Design features at the Calcaire House include floor-to-ceiling windows that connect interior spaces to the exterior landscape, and offer spectacular views of the Boulder Flatirons. There is also a combination of exposed timber, stone and steel structural design elements, and exposed custom roof trusses. Topping the home is a Drexel Metals 175S standing seam metal roof, formed at the jobsite by Boulder Roofing.

Every home is different and adding rooftop solar to the Calcaire House was not without its own set of challenges. Aesthetics, the potential for high winds and unsightly wiring were all concerns that needed to be addressed by the project team during the design phase.

With regard to aesthetics, the optimal rooftops for the solar panels just so happened to be among the most visually prominent. The homeowner’s concerns about aesthetics were addressed by using black-painted S-5! PVKIT 2.0 components to attach the all-black solar modules to the dark-colored metal roof. The panels are by no means invisible but the arrays do blend well.

Since the solar panels were attached only to the roof panels, with no direct attachment to the roof deck or structurals, calculations were needed to ensure the solar panels were sufficiently attached to the panels and the panels to the roof deck, so that the solar panels themselves couldn't detach, nor could they stay attached to the roof to cause the entire roof to be ripped from the sheeting in the event of severe winds.   

Another concern was the routing of wiring from the solar panels back to the point of connection with the home’s electrical system. The solar installer, Solar Revolution, worked with the builder and the architect, analyzing photos and design plans, to find ways to conceal the conduits. The path ultimately created was aesthetically pleasing, code compliant and still cost-effective.

Installation of the solar array using S-5!’s PVKIT 2.0 components began on the ground with the installation team prepping the S-5! PVKIT MidGrabs and EdgeGrabs. Simultaneously, the solar modules were prepared by installing the power optimizers and managing the various wires. By completing the prep work on the ground, the rooftop crew was able to focus exclusively on setting modules; thereby minimizing their time in harnesses on a steep metal roof. Installation of the panels began from the bottom and continued up the slope. By taking care to get the alignment right on the first row, the subsequent rows could be more quickly installed using the S-5! PVKIT MidGrabs.

How Did the S-5! PVKIT 2.0 Help?

• Cut material costs in half, including freight costs
• Cut installation costs in half by eliminating the assembly and installation required by traditional racking
• Minimized the amount of time workers must spend in harnesses on a steep roof
• Improved aesthetics
• Eliminated the risk of a voided roof manufacturer warranty―no holes/no damage

Calcaire House Project Team:

Roofing Contractor: Boulder Roofing
Solar Installer: The Solar Revolution
Architect: Surround Architecture
Engineer: Anthem Structural Engineers
General Contractor:  Harrington Stanko Construction

About the Metal Roof: Drexel Metals 175S roof profile
• Three roofs measured: 100 x 21 ft.3”, 65 ft. 9” x 16 ft. 2” and 11 ft. 4” x 17 ft. 6”
• Roof pitch 10 x 12

S-5! Attachment Technology:
• S-5! PVKIT 2.0 (in black)
• S-5-S Mini Clamps
• S-5! ColorGard snow retention system

The Solar Installer’s Take on S-5!

“The Solar Revolution has been utilizing the S-5! PVKIT solution since it first hit the market. Hands down, it is the best solar mounting solution for metal roofing of any description. At first, we were a little worried about wire management and installing in landscape, but those worries were overcome with our first installation. It’s a piece of cake.

Our projects using the PVKIT yield the fastest installation times, lowest material cost and best aesthetics bar none. We’ve taken a close look at all the competitors’ knock-offs, and they do not compare in quality or even in cost. S-5! has been creating innovative solutions for metal roofs far longer than anyone else, and their expertise is unmatched. We just won’t use anything else on a metal roof. These guys are awesome, and I’ve enjoyed working with their staff on various projects. They tell it like it is and have always treated us like part of the S-5! family.”

Doug Claxton, The Solar Revolution, Boulder, CO

About S-5!®

S5S-5! is a renowned maker of snow retention products for metal roof systems, and zero-penetration clamps that can be used to attach not only the company's own snow retention and wind-performance systems, but also virtually any type of ancillary item to standing seam metal roofs without violating the integrity of the roof surface or the roof’s warranties. Developed by Rob Haddock, one of the metal construction industry's leading advocates and educators, S-5! attachment products have been used the world over to attach solar arrays, signs/banners, light fixtures, gas piping, stack/flue bracing, walkways, HVAC, lightning protection, equipment screens, conduit, condensate lines and more to metal roof surfaces. To learn more about the company's ever-expanding product line, visit  s-5.com.

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