Integrated Roofing Systems Featured in the Orlando Sentinel
The Orlando Sentinel ran a story featuring Integrated Roofing Systems' Vice President Ralph Jewell.
Several Seminole schools getting unique roofs to withstand hurricane-force winds
March 17, 2013 | By Ludmilla Lelis, Staff Writer
The new roofs being installed at Lake Mary Elementary School and six other Seminole County schools will have a unique way of coping with hurricane-force winds.
No hurricane clips. No special fasteners. Instead, the roof membrane is sealed airtight and uses specially designed wind valves that can convert swirling winds created by a hurricane and keep the roof in place through suction.
Dozens of Florida buildings already have the wind-vented roofs, but the roof contracts for the Seminole schools represent a significant boost for Integrated Building Envelope Systems in Apopka, company Vice President Ralph Jewell said.
"In Florida, Seminole County is the largest school district we've worked with and we have a presence there because they became familiar with our system," he said.
Seven Seminole schools are being re-roofed under contracts totaling more than $2 million.
Jay Taylor, supervisor of construction for the Seminole school district, saw firsthand how well the system worked in 2004, the year Central Florida was struck by the hurricane trio of Charley, Frances and Jeanne.
One of the storms sent high winds into Lyman High School in Longwood, A wind-vented roof on one building stayed in place, while an adjacent building had a conventional roof, installed around the same time, that peeled away.
"It was a wind-load test for us," Taylor said. "The roof did what it was designed to do."
The Lyman High roof was the only previous Seminole schools project by Integrated Building Envelope Systems. The district didn't do a lot of re-roofing during the economic downturn. Several other Lyman High buildings are included in the latest round of roof projects.
Jewell, whose company distributes the wind-vented roofs in Florida, said the roofs are designed not to fight with the wind but instead to use the wind to keep the roof down.
"Normally the wind is the nemesis, but we use that power to our advantage," he said.
Wind-vented roofs were patented 26 years ago by the 2001 Company, a family-run company in Waterbury, Conn., company Vice President Ron Streich said. For the thousands of buildings in the U.S. with the roofs, Streich said: "In 26 years, we have not had a roof blow off. That is more than any other company can claim."
The design, which is applicable on flat or low-slope roofs only, depends on the laws of physics — rather than the strength of a hurricane clip — to keep the roof in place. During a hurricane, winds will run up the side of a building and across the top, colliding and creating a swirling vortex above the roof. Those swirling wind currents are capable of peeling a roof away.
However, the roof patented by the 2001 Company has a membrane installed airtight on the top of the building and lines up air vents along the perimeter. The vents use the negative pressure "vacuum" caused by the swirling winds to pull the roof down.
Charles Eastlake, professor emeritus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and an expert on aerodynamics, said the physics are sound.
"This roof concept makes sense in the context of fundamental physics," said Eastlake, who taught aerodynamics for more than 30 years. "Of course, the real test is the real-world experience of severe weather. If there is a roof that has survived such a storm, that would lend a lot of credibility."
The company points to several successes, including a roof that held up at a De Soto, Mo., school during a 2003 tornado, and a roof that withstood several hurricanes during its 25-year warranty at Miami International Airport, Streich said.
In Tampa, one of these roofs has performed well at the Hillsborough County Center, a 28-story administrative building, said Craig Clements, senior architect and project manager for Hillsborough County.
"The building is regularly subjected to winds being near the [Tampa] Bay," Clements said. "The more wind blows, the more the roof has stayed down, so it's worked well for us."
Other Seminole schools getting hurricane-resistant roofs are Winter Springs Elementary; Forest City Elementary, Lake Orienta Elementary and Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs; and Lawton Elementary in Oviedo.
Elsewhere in Central Florida, the roof system recently was installed at the Eustis Memorial Library. The Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, Joe's Crab Shack on the Daytona Beach Pier and several New Smyrna Beach condominiums also have that type of roof.Read the original article