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Case Study: Museum LEED Gold Addition

St. Louis Art Museum’s LEED Gold Addition Relies on Vinyl Roofing to Protect Galleries and Save Energy

Situation Analysis

The East Wing addition to the St. Louis Art Museum, originally built in 1904 for the Louisiana Purchase Expedition, was recently awarded LEED Gold status by the USGBC.

This new 200,000-plus square foot East Wing is home to a range of galleries, expanded public amenities and a restaurant overlooking the park. While increasing the museum’s total public space by 30% and adding 21 new galleries, the extensive improvements sought to address essential infrastructure deficiencies that have challenged the institution for more than a century.

Application Insight

Given the nature of what is displayed inside, it is no surprise that attention to the details was also the focus for the outside of the museum in order to offer protection from the elements while minimizing environmental impact and maximizing energy efficiency. To that end, great care was taken in selecting the roofing material.

“Anything that promoted energy improvements was used to achieve our green objectives and, ultimately, LEED points,” explains Roger McFarland, group vice president of HOK, St. Louis. “We selected the best products for the building, which demonstrate the best in performance, quality and long-term durability.”

The Sarnafil vinyl roof was installed with the Electronic Field Vector Mapping® grid, which uses pulses of low voltage electricity to detect roof system breaches. This provides additional assurance that the roof is leak free and that the priceless contents of the museum will be protected.

The Sika Sarnafil EnergySmart Roof membrane is a weather-tight, thermoplastic vinyl roofing membrane that has an initial solar reflectance of 0.8. This vinyl material allows membrane seams and flashings to be heat-welded using a hot-air welder. Once welded together, the sheets of membrane become one continuous layer of material impervious to water and moisture infiltration. As such, the vinyl roofing membrane contributed to ultimately earning Energy and Atmosphere, Optimize Energy Performance points.

Vinyl Benefits

The EnergySmart Roof reliably safeguards a building and its contents, improves occupant comfort, and delivers a service life unmatched in the roofing industry. “The number one barrier from the ever-changing outside elements is the Sika Sarnafil EnergySmart Roof membrane,” says Adrian McWherter, project manager at Bi-State Roof Systems, Inc. of Valley Park, Mo.

“The original specification was for a TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) membrane,” McWherter continues. “But we’ve installed Sika Sarnafil roofs for more than 15 years and believe it is superior to other roof systems out there. Plus, the museum has experience with the EnergySmart vinylmembrane and likes how it performs.”

Another advantage of the EnergySmart vinyl membrane was that it could be used on roof areas that were far from typical. “This project was 100% custom from start to finish,” says Brian Peter, project executive of Pepper Construction Company, Chicago, one of the general contractors on the project. “There were metal panels, internal gutters, and 377 skylights, which meant there were lots of ups and downs, turns and corners.”


Project Name: St. Louis Art Museum, East Wing
Location: St. Louis, MO
Owner: St. Louis Art Museum
Date Completed: 2012
Architect: Sir David Chipperfield with technical leadership from HOK, Architect of Record
General Contractor: Tarlton/Pepper/KAI Joint Venture
Project Manager: Bi-State Roof Systems Inc., Valley Park, MO
Roofing System: Sarnafil® EnergySmart® Roof Membrane
Manufacturer :Sika Sarnafil

Vinyl Benifits: The vinyl roofing used in this application helps reduce the heat island effect and may contribute to design solutions that achieve credit under LEED Energy and Atmosphere, Optimize Energ Performance points. This roofing system meets cool roofing requirements, maximizes energy efficiency, contains recycled content, and requires little to no maintenance.

Information for this study prepared through interviews and research conducted by Interline Creative Group, Inc. on behalf of The Vinyl Institute©