Solar Air Heating Roof for Army Fitness Facility

DATE: Fall 2012

American Solar recently commissioned the solar air heating roof retrofit at an Army fitness facility at Fort Meade, MD. The solar roof retrofit involved installation of a solar air heating metal roof and air-to-water preheat system.

The system included re-roofing 7,700 square feet of south west facing sloped roof over an exercise room/gymnasium and 1,500 square feet of low slope roof over locker rooms. The standing seam metal roof is designed to last for 40 years and outlast 2 built up roofs.

Solar heated air from the roof is used for ventilation preheating of outdoor air, domestic water preheating, and direct space heating of the gym. The total capacity of the system is 250,000 BTU/hr. It is the largest solar air heating roof on a fitness facility in North America.

The solar air heating metal roof was installed over the existing, worn out, built- up roof. No tear-off, or disposal of the old roof was required, protecting the occupants and the interior through the retrofit. The old roof’s insulating value was preserved, so the final roofing R-value increased from 20 before, to 50 after the re-roof. Monitoring of the roof temperatures during the record breaking summer heat wave showed that the solar roof was equivalent to a ‘cool roof’ in keeping the summer heat from reaching the interior ceiling surfaces.

The project was funded by the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP). The ESTCP program demonstrates commercially available, environmental and energy efficient technologies at operating military facilities to validate performance. The extensive testing and monitoring of the solar air heating roof proved its space heating, water heating and cooling capability.