Much has been written about the recent renovation of the Baker Electric Motor Car Building in the Midtown Corridor of Cleveland’s east side. Designed by Frank B. Meade in 1910, The Baker Electric building, located at Euclid Avenue and East 71st Street, is listed on the National Register for Historic Places.

The Baker Electric Motor Car Building in Cleveland is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. It was once the principal Cleveland showroom and service facility for Baker electric cars. (Photos courtesy of West Roofing Systems Inc.)

Much has been written about the recent renovation of the Baker Electric Motor Car Building in the Midtown Corridor of Cleveland’s east side. Designed by Frank B. Meade in 1910, The Baker Electric building, located at Euclid Avenue and East 71st Street, is listed on the National Register for Historic Places.

The building, which is nearly a century old, was once the principal Cleveland showroom and service facility for Baker electric cars. Today it houses medical technology companies, a financial group, and a real estate company, to name a few tenants.

Dick Pace, a principal at Cumberland Development, LLC, recently restored the building’s ornate brickwork, high ceilings, wood-paneled offices, and original foyer tile. The building has been restored to its former grandeur and provides offices for startups and tech savvy entrepreneurs. That’s just part of the story. There’s a strong trend today to renovate existing, urban, industrial-era buildings with “green” materials and energy-saving features. Cumberland Development implemented a LEED-certified design that measures and quantifies the environmental impact.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used method of measuring “greenness” in the construction industry. If a building meets enough of the criteria on the LEED checklist - from categories such as Sustainable Sites, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Innovation and Design Process - it is awarded a LEED certified status. There are four status levels for certification and a building can earn from 26 to 69 points: Certified (26-32 points); Silver (33-38 points); Gold (39-51 points); and Platinum (52-69 points).

In addition to being good for the environment, green buildings help lower operating costs, increase the building’s value and resale opportunities, and may be eligible for possible tax incentives and construction grant money.

The Cumberland Development LEED-certified renovation of the Baker Electric Building, which includes a number of environmentally friendly LEED categories - such as geothermal heating and cooling - features a soy-based foam roof from the West Development Group (WDG) that contributed significant LEED points to the building for its Silver Certification.

Historic and New Market Tax Credits were used for 40 percent of the project’s funding. These funds were available provided the building was LEED Certified - from design to construction and implementation. This article illustrates how the System 14 roof contributed to obtaining LEED points.

Dick Pace has had a long-term relationship with WDG - including roofing projects for the Playhouse Square Foundation in downtown Cleveland and the Independence Technology Center in Independence, Ohio. Because of this relationship, he knew about System 14 and recognized that WDG would contribute significantly to obtaining LEED certification.

“I have a very good relationship with WDG and knew they would be able to install a quality roof,” Pace explained. “WDG provided Cumberland Development with documentation relative to the System 14 product line that was applicable to LEED certification.” 

This photo shows the existing roof system before the restoration project was under way.

The LEED Benefits of the System

WDG’s System 14 roofing system contributes to a building’s LEED status in multiple ways. Up to 11 LEED points can be obtained.

This project used the System 14 silicone roof system and delivered numerous benefits in sustainability, low VOC emissions, use of recycled materials, and energy-efficient design.

To install the new spray polyurethane foam (SPF) System 14 roof system over 36, 976 square feet, this re-roofing project required the refurbishing and cleaning of 28,476 square feet of granulated modified bitumen membrane and the removal of 8,500 square feet of EPDM, along with the removal of the membrane and underlying installation assembly before new 1/2-inch high-density wood fiber board could be mechanically fastened.

The high R-value of WDG’s roof system permitted the downsizing of the mechanical systems and other material, which decreased initial capital expenses for equipment and materials, as well as lowering long-term building operating expenses.

Covering the newly installed ½-inch fiber board, West Roofing contractors installed 3 inches of WDG soy polyurethane foam, along with base, intermediate, and top coats of WDG solvent-free silicone coatings. A six-man crew completed the installation in 15 days. Timing and completion of the project were crucial so that new tenants could occupy the building as scheduled.

This photo shows the job in progress, before the reflective coating was applied.

Adding Up the Points

WDG provided Mr. Pace with detailed documentation to illustrate the variety of ways in which the System 14 silicone roof system would help the Baker Electric Building achieve a LEED Silver certification.

• Sustainable Sites: Within this category, LEED addresses the heat island effect. Traditional roofing materials absorb the sun’s radiation and release it as heat. The intent of this credit (1 point) is to reduce heat island temperatures that have an impact on a location’s microclimate. To do this, a roof must have a Solar Reflective Index (SRI) of 78 over at least 75 percent of the building’s roof. WDG white solvent-free silicone coating used as a topcoat over the spray polyurethane foam helped the roof of the Baker Electric building meet LEED requirements for reflective value. The silicone coating has a reflectance of 80.67 percent and emissivity of 0.94.

• Energy and Atmosphere: This category establishes a minimum level of energy efficiency for the proposed or existing building and systems. The intent is to reduce environmental and economic impact associated with excessive energy use. The Baker Electric building’s geothermal heating and cooling system contribute to this category. The spray polyurethane foam used by the System 14 roof system - with its high thermal value and lack of fasteners and seams - is a valuable component in a building’s design to help achieve optimum energy performance. The SPF used on the Baker Electric building dramatically improves a roof’s insulation value with an R-value of approximately 6.25 per one inch of thickness and is worth one LEED point.

• Materials and Resources: The roof installed on the Baker Electric building provided eight points in this category toward the LEED certification. Five points were gained for using recycled materials: one credit for Construction Waste Management, two credits for Material Reuse, and two credits for Recycled Content. The intent is to divert construction, demolition, and land-clearing debris from disposal in landfills and incinerators. This helps redirect recovered, recyclable materials back to the manufacturing process and appropriate construction sites.

System 14 uses spray foam and silicone-coating products were fluid applied to the Baker Electric building, producing minimal construction waste, and earning one point for Construction Waste Management. The torn-off EPDM material was recycled by WDG for use as post-consumer material in product manufacturing. This is part of WDG’s exclusive Roof-to-Roof (R2R™) process that uses recycled EPDM roof materials to produce the company’s silicone sealants and solvent-free silicone coatings, which were used on the Baker Electric building project, earning four LEED points for Material Reuse and Recycled Content.

WDG’s spray foam is greater than 10 percent post-industrial material and the company’s silicone topcoats are made of 16.5 percent post-consumer EPDM. In addition to using recycled material to reduce the negative impacts of ever-larger landfills and the extraction and processing of virgin materials, aged EPDM from an existing building is ideal for use in coating applications because roofing EPDM is formulated for exposure to an outside, harsh environment that includes UV rays, ozone, water and ice, etc. Using System 14 products for the Baker Electric building benefits both the environment and the building and earned one point for Recycled Content.

To help increase the demand for building materials and products extracted and manufactured in the region, LEED includes the Regional Materials and Rapidly Renewable Materials classifications. Materials used on the Baker Electric building fulfill both of these criteria (two points). The company’s soy-based SPF uses an indigenous resource (soy, which is grown in Ohio) that reduces environmental impact resulting from transportation. Also, the SPF is manufactured from soy-based polyol in lieu of petroleum-based polyol. Approximately 25 percent of the polyol used in the WDG insulation manufacturing process is renewable.

• Innovation and Design: The WDG products delivered one point in this category because it did more than provide a white topcoat. It also offered benefits including recycled content and agri-based material. The seamless SPF roof, with no fasteners contributed to this category as well.

Three inches of WDG 3009-3 soy polyurethane foam was applied over 1/2-inch high-density wood fiber board. The system included base, intermediate, and top coats of WDG solvent-free silicone coatings.

Durability and Low Maintenance

A year after its installation, Dick Pace is pleased, but not surprised, with the performance of the spray foam and silicone roof that protects the Baker Electric building.

“The seamless characteristics of a foam roof facilitate the installation of new equipment, such as air conditioning units, on the roof,” Mr. Pace explained. “The foam is ideal for changing equipment because it is durable, flexible, and stands up to the different configurations without leaking.”

Because there are separate air conditioning units for each of the tenants in the building there are multiple air conditioning units on the roof of the building. The roof stands up to the traffic on the roof and the seamless SPF minimizes leakage. Maintenance is recommended once a year, but is not required.

Pace said that the foam roof is a good solution on many levels. First, the project was able to accumulate a significant number of LEED points from the WDG roof system to help obtain the Silver Certification. Second, the quality of the roof system is remarkable. And third, his experience over the years with WDG products and West Roofing has been completely positive.

In fact, work is in process on another Cumberland Development project. West Roofing will be installing a new System 14 roof on an addition to a technology center in a Cleveland suburb.

“Dealing with West Roofing and WDG is a pleasure,” Mr. Pace concluded. “They stand behind their roofing system, provide any necessary maintenance, and the work gets done when they say it will.”

Sidebar: Sustainable at Every Level

The WDG System 14 SPF roof system installed on the Baker Electric building consists of:

• Three inches of WDG 3009-3 soy polyurethane foam (36,000 pounds of 3-pound density SPF).

• Base coat: 480 gallons of WDG HSS 540 R2Rsolvent-free silicone coating at 10 mils thick.

• Intermediate coat: 240 gallons of WDG HSS 535 solvent-free silicone coating at 10 mils thick with 3M Ceramic Granules embedded at a rate of 40 pounds per square.

• Topcoat: 240 gallons of WDG HSS 535 Bright White solvent-free silicone coating at 10 mils thick.

• Sealants: WDG 7-702 R2R silicone sealants.