Despite some unique challenges, developers, architects and contractors working within the metal construction industry suffer from many of the same issues confronting traditional builders.
In fact, moisture is nearly always a concern no matter the materials used, the structure under development or the location of the site. Improper stormwater runoff, air quality problems, pest and insect infestations, as well as foundation cracks and failures are just a few of the problems that can arise from rainwater and other sources of moisture that are funneled inappropriately from facility grounds.
Furthermore, green building has become a nationwide imperative for all builders. Over the years, numerous states have either enacted or are in the process of legislating stringent energy-efficient guidelines designed to create sustainable structures that improve productivity, lower life cycle costs and promote the efficient use of precious resources.
For instance, the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) initiative is a prime example of a voluntary environmental program that is currently being embraced by building owners and operators throughout the United States and nearly 30 other countries. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides an internationally-recognized green building certification to structures designed and built to save energy, use water efficiently, improve indoor environmental quality and effectively utilize resources according to specific metrics. Incentives include not only providing workers with healthier work and living environments, but also the long-term bottom line benefits that accompany lower-than-industry-standard operational costs and improved worker productivity.
As a result, most contractors and facility managers now know that green building entails far more than the use of environmentally-friendly products. Proper green building in today’s world requires a mindset that views every institution as a self-contained eco-system. Subsequently, the overall goal of all green building includes the desire to improve the performance of a structure, while enhancing durability, lowering maintenance needs and creating a more comfortable environment for all occupants.
Consequently, an important component of green building, but one that is all too frequently overlooked is gutter protection. The fact is that few building supervisors and facility managers truly understand the full value of systems that dependably direct the flow of water away from roof eaves, walls and foundations.
Even if cleaned regularly, gutters can become clogged with any number of obstacles ranging from twigs, leaves, pine needles, seeds and acorns to animal and pest remains. Consequently, this debris can not only prevent the free flow of water from properties, as well as create a moisture-filled breeding ground for pests; it can also cause any number of structural problems.
However, studies have recently defined the importance of reliable and tested gutter protection products, which ensure water and fine particulates flow freely through gutter valleys and out downspouts, while preventing obstructions from entering the system. First of all, properly maintained and monitored gutters can help prevent the formation of heavy sludge pockets that cause sags, as well as rooftop seepage from entering foundations and other areas to form cracks and cause all other types of water-related damage.
In addition, another consideration is the threat posed to indoor air quality. This is because clogged gutters can cause moisture to build up and create mold accumulations in drywall, sub-floors, carpets and rooftops. Subsequently, quality and enduring gutter protection systems, such as the family of Leaf Defier products from FXI Building Products have been shown to improve the interior environmental quality of structures by consistently directing water flow away from structures and helping to reduce the penetration of moisture into building envelopes.
Furthermore, research within the pest management field has also confirmed the potential benefits of gutter protection systems, which if used properly can change the conducive conditions away from pests, critters and insects and toward home, building and facility owners. For instance, moisture problems around the home and other buildings, including those found in gutters, can cause pest infestations and all sorts of structural damage. In fact, mosquitoes will breed in standing water most often found in gutters, while carpenter ants can build nests in moist wood caused by clogged gutters.
In recent months, tests have specifically shown that the installation of Leaf Defier can solve these pest problems by keeping gutter pathways clear and helping to prevent all forms of pests from entering the gutter cavity, including breeding insects. It can also help direct rainwater away from foundations and other structures, while helping to evenly distribute the flow of water around building perimeters. As most environmentalists will attest this is another significant value since stormwater runoff is a major cause of stream, lake, river and ocean pollution.
Subsequently, gutter protection should be considered more than a simple add-on. If properly installed and purchased from reliable and certified manufacturers, these systems can not only help builders meet green building mandates, but also help customers improve stormwater management, enhance building durability and prevent pest infestations, while protecting overall indoor air quality. All of which are benefits for attracting new business and gaining referrals in these stringent economic times.
Tim Croll is the manager of business development for Media, Pa.-based FXI Building Products Corp., a manufacturer of gutter protection systems including Leaf Defier, Leaf Defier XL and Safe Flow Wave. For more information please visit www.fxi.com, or contact Croll at 866-795-4770 ext. 10 or firstname.lastname@example.org.