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Private University Compliments Sleek Design With Solar and S-5! Products

Project at a Glance

The Situation & Results

The Catholic University of Argentina’s (UCA) main campus is located in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, and is considered to be one of the best private universities in

Latin America. The UCA rehabilitated its Santa María post-graduate school building – a 19th-century dockyard building along the Rio Darsena Sur (river) – to include façade restoration, roof replacement and structural modifications. The project features a flexible central space, surrounded by two open courtyards, allowing natural light to enter through large skylights. The ground and first floors house classrooms, research and study areas, a library, auditoriums, and a micro-cinema. On the third and fourth floors, below the metal roof, characteristic of all dockyard buildings, are laboratories for highly complex research programs.
The project features an impressive 170 Kw/h photovoltaic (PV) array on a Merchant & Evans ZIP-RIB architectural/ structural standing seam metal roof. The UCA is the first university in Argentina to install solar PV to comply with Law No. 27,191, which establishes the use of at least 7% of its electricity consumption via renewable energy sources for buildings housing dense populations.

Challenges Faced Along The Way

The particular characteristics of the roof and symmetry of the Santa María building, together with the roof pitch, presented a challenge for installing the PV modules. Using a traditional rail system was out of the question for this particular curved, steep-slope application. And, maintaining the aesthetic harmony of the building was critical as it is located in a popular, upscale residential area along the Rio Darsena Sur and can be viewed from any vantage point along the river or in the city. Furthermore, the UCA had multiple objectives to achieve. First and foremost, the Catholic university has developed a clean technology policy―in line with the call of Pope Francis “to contribute to sustainable development by assuming responsibly the effects of climate change.” Additionally, the UCA set out to demonstrate technological progress from an academic point of
view, serving as an environmental steward for other academic establishments in Argentina. Furthermore, installing solar PV would ensure the university’s compliance with Law No. 27,191.

What Worked?

Aesthetically, the solar array is low-profile and aligns flush with the new metal roof due to S-5!’s direct-attach™ method. The PVKIT solar attachments are securely mounted directly onto the seams of the roof, eliminating the need for a traditional rail system. By eliminating rails, the result is an aestheticallypleasing, zero-penetration system that preserves the roof structure and does not void roof warranties. The array even provides autonomous lighting at outdoor meeting points in the event of a power outage.

By adopting solar technology, the UCA was able to supplement 7% of the building’s power demand and produce energy to feed into its electrical system, resulting in a more energy-efficient building that’s now compliant with the law.

Long-Term Outlook

By adding solar PV, the university was able to supplement 7% of its post-graduate school’s electricity consumption – as required by law – enabling the UCA to positively impact the environment and pioneer the way for other academic institutions. The PVKIT and S-5-Z Mini provided an aesthetically-pleasing, cost-effective PV mounting solution―saving the customer time and money on installation and materials.

S-5! Products Used

The pre-assembled PVKIT® used in rail-less solar PV mounting can save you in logistics and installation time. It is compatible with all S-5! clamps and most brackets. It fits all 30-46 mm module frames and offers multiple slots for wire management.

The S-5-Z (“Z” stands for Zip-Rib) is specially designed for round “bulb” seam configurations. Mount snow guards and other heavy-duty applications to “bulb” seam configurations, such as Zip-Rib®BEMOKalzip® and other similar profiles. Easily install the two-piece clamp anywhere along the length of the rib.

The Z Mini clamp is a more economical solution for lighter-duty attachments where Herculean holding strength is not required.

Learn more about the product featured in this case study.

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