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Shed Roof

Shed Roof: Usage and Advantages of Sawtooth Roofs

When to choose shed roofs, what advantages and applications they offer, how to design them and optimize photovoltaic integration

Shed roofs, characterized by a unidirectional sloping plane, not only add a contemporary touch to building design but also offer a series of practical advantages making them a popular choice in many construction applications.

Let’s find out what shed roofs are, their advantages and most common applications.

Additionally, you can watch a video that shows you how to practically operate with a BIM architectural design software to create the ideal roofing for your project.

View from above of a shed covering

View from above of a shed covering

What is shed roofing?

Shed roofs, also known as “sawtooth roofs”, represent an ideal architectural solution to promote natural light coming into large spaces. This type of roof is based on a natural lighting system where the distance between transparent elements must be at most two and a half times the height of the space.

The basic principle of a shed roof is to use a unidirectional sloping plane that extends from one end to the other of the structure, creating a profile similar to that of a pitched roof. Usually, the transparent surface is oriented towards north, although there are cases of shed roofs oriented south, with the aim of maximizing the sunlight exposure during winter.

The shed structure offers uniform and diffused lighting to indoor spaces, making it ideal for areas where achieving constant and homogeneous brightness is important. This indirect daylight not only enhances the visual comfort of occupants but can also provide significant thermal benefits during the summer months. Moreover, shed roofings are recommended for environments where it is necessary to protect sensitive goods from UV or infrared rays.

From a structural point of view, the shed roofing is composed of a series of consecutive flat planes in two different orders of inclination with respect to the horizontal. The planes of the first order are solid and can be made with materials such as brick, reinforced concrete, or other common structural elements, coated with insulating sheets or panels. The planes of the second order, instead, are composed of steel or wooden beams arranged to support transparent glass or polycarbonate sheets, creating the characteristic sawtooth profile.

The choice of materials depends on various factors, including the desired architectural design, the specific client requirements, and the needs for acoustic and thermal insulation of the building. Ultimately, the shed roofing represents a versatile and efficient solution to improve the lighting and energy efficiency of industrial, commercial, and residential buildings, while also contributing to overall environmental sustainability.

Structure and Functioning

The design and construction of shed coverings represent a crucial phase in the building process, requiring particular attention to technical details and the project specific needs. Let’s now take a look at some fundamental aspects to consider during this phase.

Window Orientation

The orientation of windows along the high side of the slope is a critical aspect to maximize the entry of natural light into the underlying spaces. It is important to conduct a detailed analysis of the solar angle and lighting conditions to determine the optimal window position. This ensures a bright and comfortable environment while avoiding glare effects.

Plane Inclination

The inclination of the plane is another crucial factor to consider in shed covering design. A too steep angle can limit the natural light coming in, while a too flat angle can compromise rainwater drainage. It is important to find a balance between the desired illumination and the functionality of the roof.

Integration with Natural Lighting Systems

Integration with natural lighting systems such as skylights and domes is essential to maximize the benefits of shed roofs. These additional devices allow regulating the amount of natural light entering the spaces, improving the comfort of occupants, and reducing the overall energy consumption of the building. It is important to carefully consider the location and size of these systems to ensure uniform and effective lighting.

Spacing of Zenithal Openings

In the case of sawtooth roofs, it is essential to respect precise rules for the spacing of zenithal openings. The distance between transparent elements should not exceed 2.5 times the height of the space measured on the transparent surface. This ensures uniform lighting and avoids gross errors in roof design.

Internal view of a shed roof

Internal view of a shed roof

Advantages of Shed Roofs

Shed roofs represent a versatile and advantageous choice for a wide range of applications and buildings. Let’s see some of the main advantages they offer compared to traditional roofs.

Energy Efficiency and Natural Lighting

Shed roofs are designed to maximize the entry of natural light into buildings, thus reducing dependence on artificial lighting during the day. This not only reduces energy costs but also creates a more comfortable and productive environment for occupants.

Weather Resistance

The inclined structure of shed roofs promotes the rapid drainage of rainwater, reducing the risk of accumulations and infiltrations. Additionally, the high-quality materials used in their construction make them highly resistant to weather conditions such as snow, rain, and wind, ensuring reliable protection over time.

Durability and Low Maintenance

Shed roofs are known for their durability and resistance over time. Thanks to high-quality materials and careful design, they require little or no maintenance over the years, saving time and money for building owners.

Customized Design

One of the main features of shed roofs is their versatility in terms of design. With a wide range of colors, finishes, and materials available, it is possible to customize the roof design according to the specific needs of the building and the personal preferences of the client.

Versatile Applications

Shed roofs are suitable for a variety of applications, including industrial or commercial buildings, or sports facilities. Their flexibility makes them ideal for a wide range of projects, from factories to shopping malls, always ensuring excellent performance and attractive aesthetics.

Performance Improvement with Photovoltaic Integration

The shed system can be the ideal solution to optimize the performance of the photovoltaic system. The spacing between tiles and the frame height are two key factors that influence the angle of inclination of solar panels and, consequently, their dimensions. These variables allow customizing the arrangement of photovoltaic panels to maximize the absorption of solar energy. Thanks to the shed design, it is not necessary to add additional metal structures for the installation of the photovoltaic system.

Moreover, a minimum slope of 7% allows positioning the panels optimally, ensuring maximum efficiency of the solar panels installed flat. Integrating a photovoltaic system on the shed roof not only contributes to the production of clean and renewable energy but also offers long-term economic benefits, reducing dependence on conventional energy sources and contributing to the environmental sustainability of the building.

How to Build a Shed Roof

The video below shows how to design a roof with an architectural design software and, therefore, manage the shed roof easily and in a few steps.