This article appeared in Architectural West magazine November/December 2008.

Building Green
LEED Certification for Projects Featuring Clay Roof Tile

by Marc Dodson, contributing editor

Much has been written about green building, sustainability, and, of course, LEED certification. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED sets the standard for environmentally sustainable construction. Since its inception a decade ago, LEED has quickly grown from an environmental curiosity to sought-after green rating threshold. How green is your project? Well, how high is your project’s LEED rating?

Achieving a high LEED rating is a cooperative effort that originates in the design stage and continues through the selection of building materials, the method of construction, and the amount and means of waste disposal generated by the project. Attention must be paid to every step of construction of the project, or, at any point, the LEED rating could plummet, or be lost altogether.

LEED certified buildings use key resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings, which are simply built to code. In addition to being energy efficient, LEED certified buildings are healthier work and living environments, which contributes to higher productivity and improved employee health and comfort.

Achieving a high LEED rating for residential roofing materials has always been difficult, mainly due to the low reflectivity of the darker colors involved. Since the roof assembly, sometimes called the “fifth-wall,” bears the brunt of nature’s elements, it plays an integral part in achieving a high LEED rating. Selecting the correct LEED roofing material can mean the difference between platinum, gold, or silver rating… or not getting the project LEED certified at all.

Some manufacturers of residential roofing materials have been able to achieve a high reflectivity that contributes to the overall LEED rating of a project. MCA Clay Roof Tile has 33 Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) rated colors of clay tile, creating a seemingly endless array of blends.

One such project is the recently completed fire station #47 in Pacific Highlands Ranch, San Diego, Calif., featured on our cover. The project features MCA’s twopiece Corona Tapered Mission clay roof tile. The roof consists of 75% Old Mission Blend with a solar reflectance average of 0.43, thermal emittance average of 0.86; and 25% Carmel with a solar reflectance average of 0.35, thermal emittance average of 0.82. The architect on the project was STK Architecture, Temecula, Calif.; the general contractor was Tovey/Shultz Construction, Lake Elsinore, Calif.; and the roofing contractor was Southern California Roofing, Downey, Calif.

This fire station is situated on 1.5 acres and includes accommodations for a wildland fire fighting facility. The 8,500-sq.-ft. complex is capable of housing two engines and specialized equipment for fighting wildland fires. The fire station serves the Pacific Highlands Ranch, Del Mar Mesa, and Torrey Highlands areas in San Diego County.

In Palmdale, Calif., fire station #136, designed by RRM Design, San Clemente, Calif., also features MCA clay roof tile. The product chosen is a one-piece Mission “S” clay tile, 50% Tobacco with a solar reflectance average of 0.42, thermal emittance average of 0.86; and 50% Brick Red with a solar reflectance average of 0.42, thermal emittance average of 0.84. The project’s general contractor was Movus Construction, Chatsworth, Calif.; and roofing contractor was Western States Roofing, Northridge, Calif.

HML Architects, Ontario, Calif, designed the recently completed $3 million, 13,000- sq.-ft. Orange Terrace Library, Riverside, Calif. The general contractor was 3D Diffenbaugh, Riverside, and the roofing contractor was Applied Roof Engineering, Corona, Calif. The MCA product chosen for the project was a one-piece Mission “S” clay roof tile, Old Mission Blend.

Yoshi Suzuki of MCA Clay Roof Tile states, “Construction of a building shouldn’t be synonymous with the destruction of the planet. In the past, building material products sometimes violated this common-sense imperative. Not by desire, of course, but by lack of knowledge and technology. That has begun to change. Today, building ‘green’ is a good long-term investment that doesn’t have to cost more than building with traditional materials. MCA is committed to being at the forefront in energy-efficient and environmentally- friendly building products and solutions.”