Links & Tools

Appearing below is a list of Links to organizations and entities whose work centers primarily on research, testing, product ratings, and codes and standards. Below that, under the heading of Calculators and Tools, are descriptions and links to various energy-related calculators and building cost estimating tools that are available either for free online use or free download. The calculators and tools are divided into two sections, non-proprietary and manufacturer-specific.

To add an organization, a tool or calculator to this list, e-mail



125 Massachusetts Ave., NW 
Washington, DC 20001 
(301) 367-6179

BuildSteel BuildSteel is a cold-formed steel framing resource center for building professionals, providing valuable resources and education related to the use of cold-formed steel framing in low and mid-rise and multi-family construction projects. As a centralized source for information, BuildSteel offers resources to help move cold-formed steel framing projects forward efficiently and effectively. BuildSteel also offers free "project assistance" for building professionals. A team of industry experts are available to provide project-specific assistance and answer questions related to cold-formed steel framing.

California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center

1516 Ninth St., MS-29
Sacramento, CA 95814
(800) 555-7794
(916) 654-4058 (outside CA)

The California Energy Commission’s Consumer Energy Center went online in 1995 to offer the public a one-stop site on the internet for the latest information about energy resources and how to use them wisely in homes, vehicles and workplaces. It provides information about rebates and incentives, offers consumer tips and has a video section about the state’s Title 24 Energy Code.


Cool Roof Rating Council

1738 Excelsior Avenue
Oakland, CA 94602
(866) 465-2523

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) was created in 1998 to develop accurate and credible methods for evaluating and labeling the solar reflectance and thermal emittance (radiative properties) of roofing products, and to disseminate that information to all interested parties. At the core of the CRRC is its Product Rating Program, which enables roofing manufacturers to have their products rated under a strict program administered by the CRRC. Those manufacturers are listed in a searchable directory on the organization’s website.


Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

Established in 1995, The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The chief components of the program are databases that can be accessed freely on the DSIRE website. These databases, one for Renewable Energy and the other for Energy Efficiency, provide comprehensive information on state, local, utility and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.


Florida Solar Energy Center

1679 Clearlake Rd.
Cocoa, FL 32922

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) was created by the Florida Legislature in 1975 to serve as the state’s energy research institute. The main responsibilities of the center are to conduct research, test and certify solar systems and develop education programs.


Galvinfo Center

(888) 880-8802

The GalvInfo Center, a program of the International Zinc Association (IZA), was established in 1999 to serve current and potential users of steel sheet coated with zinc-containing coatings. The core activity of the Center is to provide technical information and support to direct inquiries about the application, performance and unique terminology of these products.


International Code Council

500 New Jersey Ave., NW,
6th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
(888) 422-7333

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states that adopt codes choose the International Codes developed by the International Code Council.


International Lead Zinc Research Organization

2525 Meridian Parkway,
Ste. 100
Durham, NC
(919) 361-4647

The International Lead Zinc Research Organization (ILZRO) was formed in 1958 as a non-profit research foundation. Its sponsors include most of the major producers of lead, zinc and silver, and significant numbers of end-users of these metals from among the steel, automotive, die casting, battery, galvanizing and other industries. The results of ILZRO’s R&D efforts are communicated through a variety of forums, including research reports, technical seminars, expert consulting, internet sites and printed publications.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Heat Island Group

Building 90, Room 2000
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Berkeley, CA 94720

This group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted research to find, analyze and implement solutions to the so-called “heat island” effect. A major area of concentration for the group has been the development and advocacy of more reflective surfaces for roadways and buildings. A website detailing the research and findings contains a wealth of information on the heat island effect.


Metal Buildings Institute

P.O. Box 499
Shawnee Mission, KS 66201
(800) 866-6722

The Metal Buildings Institute is a 501 c 3 Educational Institute founded for the primary purpose of improving the quality of in-place metal building construction. MBI provides educational and training programs to metal building contractors, erectors and students in construction programs for the direct benefit of specifiers, designers and owners.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Buildings Envelope Program
P.O. Box 2008, Mail Stop 6070
Oak Ridge, TN 37831
(865) 574-9354 research/envelope/

The Building Envelopes Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory focuses on improving the roofs, walls and foundations of buildings, and also the insulating materials that these systems contain. The program is interested in ways that heat, air, and moisture travel through the building envelope and the effects that various building materials have on energy consumption. The goal of this research is to identify energy-efficient building materials and envelope systems that will be adopted by the U.S building industry.

PACENation - Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing Program

PACEnation is a collaborative of people and organizations committed to increasing the use of renewable energy systems such as wind and solar by residential and commercial property owners by increasing long-term financing opportunities. The PACENation website includes an interactive map to help connect homeowners and property owners with programs available in their areas. 


Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc.

4721 Covenant Way
Powder Springs, GA 30127
(770) 726-7194

The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc. (RICOWI) was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization to identify and address important technical issues related to damage and failures of roof systems as a result of weather-related events such as severe storms, hurricanes, etc. Since its inception, RICOWI has completed a number of important field investigations. To read overviews and/or download, visit the Technical Articles section of this website and scroll down to RICOWI reports.


Solar Action Alliance

555 California Street, #4925 
San Francisco, CA 94104 
(415) 659-1900 /california

The Solar Action Alliance is an environmental group promoting solar energy as an alternative energy source for California consumers and businesses. The group's website provides visitors with all the information they need in order to go solar. This includes California-specific solar infographics, historical data, a petition, a blog full of informative articles, and much more.


U.S EPA Energy Star Roof Products Program

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
(888) 782-7937 index.cfm?c=roof_prods.pr_ roof_products

Solar reflectance is the measurement of how much of the sun’s rays are reflected away from the surface. Roofing materials with a high solar reflectance rating have been shown to be more energy efficient than products with low solar reflectance ratings. The EPA’s Energy Star program recognizes roof products with high reflectance values because of the positive impact those systems have on lowering building energy needs. More information about Energy Star Reflective Roof Products can be found by visiting the Energy Star website.


U.S. Green Building Council

1800 Massachusetts Ave., NW,
Ste. 300
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 828-5110

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy. As a means of objectively evaluating and recognizing environmentally responsible building projects and construction teams, the organization has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. It provides credit for the use of building products that are recyclable and made with high concentrations of recycled content, and for materials that are energy efficient.


Wei-Wen Yu Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures (CCFSS)

301 Butler-Carlton Hall
University of Missouri-Rolla
Rolla, MO 65409
(573) 341-471


The Center for Cold-Formed Steel Structures (CCFSS) was established in 1990 under an initial grant from the American Iron and Steel Institute. It provides an integrated approach to handling research, teaching, engineering education, technical services, and professional activity. The Center brings together the technical resources of interested parties, i.e. university researchers, steel producers, product manufacturers, consultants, building officials, government agencies, and others with a common goal of continued improvement of cold-formed steel design and construction. 


 Whole Building Design Guide 

National Institute 
of Building Sciences
1090 Vermont Ave., NW,
Ste. 700 
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-7800

The Whole Building Design Guide is an informational website that offers government and industry practitioners access to up-to-date information and guidance on designing from a ‘whole buildings’ perspective. One section of the site is the Construction Criteria Base—an extensive electronic library of construction guide specifications, manuals, standards and other essential documents that would be needed to compete for construction contracts involving any of a number of government agencies. 

Didn't find the organization you were looking for?
Try browsing our Associations section instead! 


Calculators and Tools - Non-Proprietary

 Roofing Savings Calculator 

To link directly to the calculator, go to
Roof Savings Calculator.

This Roof Savings Calculator, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, was developed as an industry-consensus roof savings calculator for commercial and residential buildings using whole-building energy simulations. 


 Department of Energy Cool Roof Calculator  

To use the calculator, go to
DOE Cool Roof Calculator.

By inputting the verified reflectivity and emissivity values of a proposed roof system, this Department of Energy Cool Roof Calculator shows the annual cooling and heating savings that would be realized when compared to a black roof. Differences between non-black surfaces can be seen by printing out separate estimates for each and then manually comparing them. 


 ECOCalculator With Life Cycle Analysis For Metal Buildings


To use the calculator, go to EcoCalculator

This calculator allows architects, engineers and others to have access to life cycle analysis (LCA) for hundreds of common building assemblies, including metal building systems. Developed by the Athena Institute in association with the University of Minnesota and Morrison Hershfield Consulting Engineers, the ECOCalculator tool was commissioned by the Green Building Initiative™ (GBI) for use with the Green Globes™ environmental assessment and rating system. 


 RSMeans QuickCost Calculator 

To use the calculator, go to
RSMeans QuickCost Estimator

Select from more than 50 building types in 930 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. The RSMeans Quick Cost Estimator enables users to quickly calculate an estimated value of total project cost localized to a selected area. The calculations include add-on costs itemizing low, medium and high estimates for Archtectural Fees and Contractor’s Overhead and Profit. To access data, users must create a login and password. 



To learn more about the Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program, click Energy Codes Program.

The REScheck program can be used online, and it is available for free download. Click REScheck.

Offered by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Building Energy Codes Program, REScheck is designed to simplify and clarify code compliance with the Model Energy Code (MEC), the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and a number of state codes as they relate to residential construction.



To learn more about the Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program, click Energy Codes Program.

The COMcheck program can be used online, and it is available for free download. Click COMcheck.

Offered by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of its Building Energy Codes Program, COMcheck is designed to simplify and clarify commercial and high-rise residential energy code compliance. It addresses both trade-off and prescriptive approaches, and allows the user to easily determine which is the most cost effective for the situation.


 eVALUator Software  

To download the software, go to eVALUator Software.

Developed and offered by Energy Design Resources, eVALUator is a Windows-based software program that calculates the lifecycle benefits of investments that improve building design. It analyzes the financial benefits from buildings that reduce energy cost, raise employee productivity, and enhance tenant satisfaction. It also provides building owners, developers, tenants, architects, engineers, and facility managers with the financial information necessary to make sound decisions about building improvements. 


 SkyCalc Skylight Calculator  

To use the calculator, go to
SkyCalc Skylight Calculator


Developed and offered by Energy Design Resources, SkyCalc is a simple computer tool that helps building designers determine the optimum skylighting strategy that will achieve maximum lighting and HVAC energy savings for a building. 


 Zinc Coating Life Predictor  

To use the online calculator, go to Zinc Coating Life Predictor.

Developed by Dr. Gregory X. Zhang at the Teck Cominco Product Technology Centre, the Zinc Coating Life Predictor is a software program that estimates the corrosion rate of zinc in various environments. The program’s calculations are based on models developed using statistical methods, neural network technology and an extensive worldwide corrosion database. Information needed to use the program effectively includes temperature, airborne salinity, sulfer dioxide concentration, relative humidity, rainfall and sheltering condition.


 NRCA Wind-Load Calculator  

To use the calculator, go to

Developed by the National Roofing Contractors Association, in cooperation with the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and the North/East Roofing Contractors Association, the Roof Wind Designer calculator provides roofing professionals a means of accurately determining roof systems’ design wind loads for common building types. Determinations made by the calculator are the result of information input by the user, including roof area, building location and configuration, roof area dimensions, mean roof height and slope, and exposure and occupancy information. 


 Wind-RCI Wind-Load Calculator (Canada only)

To use the calculator, click
Canadian Wind-Load Calculator


Developed by the National Research Council of Canada, in partnership with the Roof Consultants Institute Foundation and the Roofing Contractors Association of British Columbia, the Wind-RCI online calculator is designed to do calculations based on the National Building Code of Canada (NBC 2005) or the American Society of Civil Engineers guide (ASCE 7-05). It allows users to calculate building wind loads for all Canadian cities by entering the building type (high-rise or low-rise), height and roof dimensions, exposure and type. Wind-RCI then calculates roof cladding design loads and displays the wind load diagram for the field, perimeter and corner zones of the roof assembly.    


 Let's Go Solar Residential PV Viability Guide 

To visit the site, click here.


Let's Go Solar is a consumer guide website for evaluating the economic viability and/or practicality of adding solar energy collecting systems on residential projects.    Web-Based Roofing Calculator 

To visit the site, click here.


The roofing calculator is a free web-based calculator for estimating virtually any type of roof system, including zinc and copper standing seam.     


 Hover Smartphone Roof Estimating App 

To learn about the app, click here.


The Hover app transforms smartphone photos of any home into a fully measured, customizable 3D model so the project can be visualized and bid accurately. The most basic version of the app is free. A more robust version with advanced features is available for purchase.


Tools & Calculators
- Manufacturer-Specific

 Alpine SnowGuards' Project Calculator

To use the calculator, click here.

Developed by Alpine SnowGuards, the snowguards project calculator helps to determine the correct layout for snow management systems on metal roofing and other roof types. Suggested layouts and pricing options are provided, based on information for each specific project.


 Flex-Ability Concepts' Dome Construction Calculator

To use the calculator, click here.

Developed by Flex-Ability Concepts, the Dome Construction Calculator helps designers and contractors determine the amount and type of Flex-C Trac® needed to construct virtually any type of dome configuration. Users can choose from multiple Flex-C Trac gauge and width options plus rib spacing options, and they can also select a combination that provides load capacity. For a selected configuration, the Dome Calculator will indicate the size of the compression ring and tension ring required, plus the number of ribs and their dimensions.


 Flex-Ability Concepts' Flex-C Trac® Arc Length Calculator   

To use the calculator, click here.

Developed by Flex-Ability Concepts, The Flex-C Trac® Arc Length Calculator is used to determine the linear footage of Flex-C Trac® needed for a given curved wall application. The calculator can be used to determine the radius and arc length (if the chord length and chord height are known), the chord height and arc (if radius and chord length are known), or the chord length and arc (if radius and chord height are known). 


 SnoBlox-SnoJax Snow Guard Spacing Tool 

To use the spacing tool, click here.

Developed by SnoBlox-SnoJax, the Snow Guard Spacing Tool calculates estimates and layouts for snow loads up to 80 psf. Estimates are based on rectangular roof areas only. 


 S-5!™ ColorGard® Snow Retention Project Calculator

To use the calculator, click here.

Developed by S-5!™, the ColorGard® Snow Retention Project Calculator is a tool that can be used to determine either single roof or multi-roof snow guard systems. After entering roof specifications the ColorGard® Snow Retention Project Calculator will recommend which type of clamp to use, the quantity of clamps needed and the amount of ColorGard® necessary for maximum snow load. The calculator can also be used to determine the amount of materials needed for multiple projects. 


 Drexel Solar Estimator For Portable Roll Former Owners

To receive the free estimator, e-mail here

The new Drexel Solar Estimator enables members of Drexel Metals Association of Regional Manufacturers (DMARM) to determine the cost of adding thin-film laminate photovoltaics to new projects and existing buildings. It also provides links to incentive information and much more. The program is free to DMARM members.  

 Carport Central Custom Metal Building Package Estimator

To use the estimator, click here

Carport Central's customer estimator is an in-hand tool for designing a fully customized metal building, and estimating the cost of each component with variations.   

^ Back To Top