Incorporating Sustainability into Metal Building Maintenance

As we watch the global focus on sustainability intensify, various industries are reevaluating their practices and adopting environmentally friendly alternatives. The metal building industry is no exception, with a growing emphasis on incorporating sustainability into maintenance processes. In our last blog post, we explored the concept of circularity — abandoning the traditional cradle-to-grave or downcycling process — and shifting to starting sustainability practices in the design process. Today we’ll explore the importance of sustainable metal building maintenance and provide actionable tips for professionals in the industry to embrace greener practices.

Today’s metal building systems allow you to do more than just putting on appearances. You can extend the life of a building and save both maintenance and energy costs.

Start with the Roof

Notched Purlin/Roof HuggerⓇ; credit: McElroy Metal

According to Metal Architecture, “When you re-roof with metal-over-metal, there’s no downtime. You don’t need to remove the old roof, saving time and expense. Metal-over-metal re-roofing systems let you install the new roof over your existing roof.” The high-profile option can boost the insulation value of your roof by more than 50%. Manage leaks before they become even bigger ones, causing expensive damage to the interior of your structure.

You may also consider turning your building into an energy producer by adding solar panels. Harnessing the power of the sun is a game-changer in sustainable metal building maintenance and metal roof systems provide a perfect base for adding solar panels. With a proven life span that exceeds 40 years, the metal roof will far outlast any solar panel. 

Lastly, consider implementing green roof systems on metal buildings. These living roofs are not only aesthetically pleasing but also provide insulation, improve air quality, and absorb rainwater, reducing the strain on drainage systems.

Coatings and Metal Wall Panels

When it comes to preserving and protecting metal surfaces, opt for environmentally friendly coatings. Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints and coatings reduce harmful emissions, promoting indoor air quality and minimizing the impact on the surrounding environment.

Use of IMPs; credit: Metal Construction Association

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) can also provide a fast-track transformation for any building. They address multiple needs for any building makeover:

  • Exterior and interior finish – An IMP’s exterior comes in various colors and finishes that can mimic any wall covering, from stucco to concrete. The panel also provides a finished interior that can help to reduce labor costs.
  • Control of water, vapor, and air penetration – With highly engineered lap and fastener systems, insulated metal panels eliminate the need to add additional layers of water and vapor barriers than can add additional material and labor costs. 
  • Thermal control – The IMP system can easily meet or exceed your energy code requirements. 
  • Sustainability – IMPs are 100% recyclable and reusable, supporting your sustainability practices. With a minimum of 30% recycled content and available environmental product declarations, an insulated metal panel will support your efforts to go green.

Recycling and Waste Management

Implement a comprehensive recycling and waste management program within the metal building facility. Proper disposal of construction and maintenance-related waste, as well as recycling materials like metal, can significantly reduce the environmental footprint.

Regular Maintenance Inspections and Life Cycle Assessments

Credit: IAS (International Accreditation Service)

Adopting a proactive approach to maintenance can extend the lifespan of metal buildings, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Regular inspections can help identify potential issues early on, allowing for timely repairs and minimizing the overall environmental impact. Conduct life cycle assessments for metal buildings to understand their environmental impact from production to disposal. This holistic approach can guide decisions in material selection, construction methods, and maintenance practices, ensuring a more sustainable lifecycle for the building.

IAS accredits the inspection practices of companies that assemble metal building systems. IAS accreditation establishes a benchmark for companies qualified to assemble and erect metal buildings.


As the metal building industry evolves, incorporating sustainability into maintenance practices becomes a crucial step toward a greener future. The concepts of sustainability and circularity are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. Together, these principles form a holistic approach to building maintenance that not only ensures longevity but also minimizes environmental impact.

It’s worth noting that these pivotal sustainability topics will be interwoven at this year’s METALCON event in Atlanta, scheduled for October 30 to November 1. Industry professionals, thought leaders, experts, and manufacturers will converge to discuss and showcase the latest advancements in sustainable metal building maintenance, emphasizing the importance of circularity in creating a resilient and environmentally conscious industry. By staying informed and actively participating in events like METALCON, professionals can gain valuable insights and contribute to shaping a future where metal buildings stand as exemplars of sustainability and circularity. For year-round learning, check out the METALCON Sustainability & Efficiency ON DEMAND library for webinars you can watch at your convenience to stay up-to-date.


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