Inside That Envelope Could Be Millions of Dollars in Lifetime Savings


This particular envelope represents the protective shell of any commercial or industrial building structure (foundation, walls and roof). The materials selected for the building envelope play a major role in operational, energy, maintenance and replacement cost savings over the life of a building.

A recent U.S. Department of Energy report states that 42% of the energy consumed by nonresidential buildings in the United States is lost through the building envelope (including roof).1

So, for the purposes of this article, the following facts – comparing actual total cost of ownership (TCO) savings – are focused strictly on an industry-leading metal roof system compared to the most commonly applied, single-ply TPO roof.

So when evaluating all types of commercial roofs, the eye-opening result is this:

When comparing the MR-24 standing-seam metal roof system from Butler against conventional TPO roofs, the difference is staggering. Weighing maintenance, replacement and energy consumption costs, the amount of lifetime savings can actually add up to multi-millions of dollars.

Even looking at just a few of the MR-24 roof system’s most significant characteristics, its competitive advantages are clearly evident. To begin with, it is made of steel, giving it excellent durability, longevity and strength to handle extreme climate conditions and stringent building codes. Its exclusive, patented innovations ensure unsurpassed weather-tightness and it also meets or exceeds all major industry test standards. Plus, it has proven in-place performance of over 45 years. That’s nearly half a century without replacement, and typically, with very little need for maintenance.

These lifecycle cost projections tell the story.

The data, below, accounts for average installation costs and TPO replacement cycles throughout North America and UV ratings specifically for the Southern California region. The example is based on a multi-building project that, in total, required 1.8 million square feet of commercial roofing.



Replacement costs over a 39-45 year period (or the expected lifetime of the MR-24 Roof System):


1st cycle replacement costs (after 13-15 year cycle)

= $5.00 a square foot = $9,000,000


2nd cycle replacement costs (after 13-15 year cycle)

= $5.50 a square foot = $9,900,000


3rd cycle replacement costs (after 13-15 year cycle)

= $6.00 a square foot = $10,800,000**



Maintenance & upkeep costs per year:

6 cents per square foot = $108,000 per year



Combined maintenance / replacement costs (two cycles):

1st cycle (13-15) end of cycle costs



2nd cycle (13-15) end of cycle costs



Total cost after 26-30 years



This demonstrates the significant amount of extra dollars required to maintain and/or replace a TPO roof during the same lifespan as a single MR-24 roof.

With a demonstrated life expectancy of over 45 years, the MR-24 roof system delivers 90% lower lifetime maintenance costs than conventional roofs.

So, in this case, by choosing to install the MR-24 roof system versus a conventional TPO roof, the total cost of ownership savings would easily exceed $20 million over 30+ years.

That doesn’t include additional energy cost savings that can result from incorporating the SunLite Strip® natural daylighting system from Butler in combination with lighting control systems. This energy-saving option has been proven to reduce electrical lighting costs by up to 70%.

In addition, an American Institute of Architects (AIA) survey listed daylighting and lighting controls among the top nonresidential construction trends for the next decade.1

One real-world illustration of this savings potential is a 300,000 square-foot manufacturing plant in Annville, Pennsylvania. By adding daylighting and lighting controls, they were able to cut energy usage so drastically that the business saves $11,000 per month. It also earned sizeable energy rebates.

A smart decision about the building envelope — especially the roof — can really add up.

With a 50-75% longer lifespan than TPO roofs, a 25-year service life warranty, high durability, and energy efficiency, it’s understandable why more than 2 billion square feet of MR-24 roof are installed worldwide. It is the most specified standing-seam roof system in the commercial construction industry. That, alone, warrants serious consideration, if not further investigation.

To learn more, contact a Butler Corporate Accounts Manager. If you would like to schedule a meeting, please complete this simple form.

1Efficiency and Sustainability to Shape Future of Nonresidential Construction. American Institute of Architects, Feb. 11, 2016.

**3rd cycle (13-15) end of cycle costs = $12,096,000

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