Passive Solar Design Beats Austin’s Brutal Heat

Passive Solar Design Beats Austin’s Brutal Heat

A sweeping metal roof with a deep overhang will provide shade and heat resistance at the VISION House Austin.

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When you touch metal that’s been baking in the sun it can singe your fingertips, but a metal roof can be an ideal solution to reflect solar heat away from a house. That’s part of the concept at the VISION House Austin, where Green Builder Media, in partnership with well-known sustainable architects Peter Pfeiffer and Alan Barley of Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture in Austin, is building a sustainable high-performance house for Robert and Judi George.

The architects carefully sited the house to take advantage of cooling breezes and to protect the interior from solar heat gain. The house is situated with the rooms that are the least likely to be used during the day on the west-facing side to avoid the afternoon sun. The longest sides of the house face north and south, with the shady overhang of the roof protecting the south side of the house. A screened porch is placed on the southeastern corner to catch breezes.

Floating Metal Roof

The metal roof on the VISION House Austin is supplied by Fabral , a company founded in 1967 that supplies metal roofs and steel panels to residential and commercial projects across the U.S. Fabral’s metal panels are made from partially recycled materials and are fully recyclable at the end of their lifespan.

At the VISION House Austin, Fabral’s thin metal roof will heat up but won’t store heat. The material is lightweight and reflective. A radiant barrier will be installed under the roof to prevent heat from getting into the house, and the roof will be installed above the roof deck almost like a floating shade umbrella.

Fabral’s prefinished metal roofing includes coatings that prevent the growth of moss, mildew and fungus. Metal roofs are durable, conserve energy and require almost no maintenance, which matches the goals of the homeowners for their new home.

Fabral marina

Protection from the Elements

Austin may be well-known for its hot humid summers, but it also faces wildfire hazards, tornados and high winds. Fabral’s metal roof panels are lightweight yet strong enough to withstand severe weather and are fire resistant. They are Class A rated for fire resistance and Class 4 for hail, the highest possible rating for impact resistance.

The VISION House Austin roof will be built with Fabral Thin Seam , an engineered, snap-together panel that combines classic design and high performance. The snap-together design means installation is easier and doesn’t require mechanical seaming tools.

“With standard 12-inch, 16-inch and 18-inch widths available, the panels can be tapered as needed and can be installed over open framing or solid substrates,” says Michael Vaughn, marketing manager at Fabral. “Stiffening ribs or shadow lines are available to meet various aesthetic and performance requirements. These high-performance panels boast one of the highest wind uplift resistance panels in the market.”

Sustainability: Core Value for Fabral

Working on the VISION House Austin and previously on the VISION House at Mariposa Meadows provides a showcase for the performance of Fabral’s products, Vaughn says.

“These projects also lend credibility to our organization by aligning with industry partners to support sustainability and innovation in building practices,” Vaughn says.

Fabral’s commitment to the transformation and sustainability of the building industry is demonstrated by several key company initiatives, including product innovation and the use of recyclable materials.