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Latest Issue


A Copper Bottomed Investment

Taking the dog for his morning walk in Minehead I pass the Lifeboat Station, a Victorian building which is being upgraded - adding a new section at the end with a copper roof. A copper roof? That's the most expensive type of roofing you can install – and the RNLI might be well supported but is, when all's said and done, a charity.

Had the RNLI's architect lost his marbles and ignored the current trend towards using sustainable construction materials, or flash with cash have they decided to go the aesthetic route? I did some quick research. Far from it. In fact Elgin marbles figure highly in his choice as Copper was used as roofing when the Parthenon was built in Greece in 447BC. It also figures in other celebrated buildings throughout history and outlasts most other building materials, offering superior performance in terms of aesthetics, flexibility and strength, durability, and longevity. Aesthetic appeal is not the sole reason to install copper roofing. It comes with a number of other advantages that make it an overall superior roofing material.

For one thing, it's maintenance and repair free, or unlike various kinds of steel, any additional coating or re-painting throughout its lifetime. Instead, copper roofs develop a characteristic green patina, acting as a protective coating for copper.

It provides superior safety in severe weather, particularly here where the Lifeboat Station is frequently battered in high storms, and homeowners that live in areas prone to severe weather know all too well the damage that nature can do their roofs.

It's a permanent material and by far the longest-lasting roofing material you can install, remaining impeccable and intact for centuries. It will never catch on fire and will actually stop it from spreading further.

It's also a lightweight material – with a lot less weight on the structure of the house you can have a greater variety of creative architectural designs available to you and because the roof will require less support, it decreases the cost of installation.

Most important, copper is classed as a green, sustainable material - one of the few that actually deserves the title. In America, as much copper is recycled and reused as is newly mined, thereby saving energy and precious natural resources. Your cooper roof will never end up in a landfill, and copper roofs installed today boast over 75% of recycled content, making itone of the most recyclable materials in the construction industry.

The RNLi has a big project ongoing, refurbing the old lifeboat stations around the country – all in a similar style. And they are proving that you can certainly do sustainability in style – and save a lot of bucks by going maintenance free.

David Chadwick

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