For some clients, there’s a conscious desire to make sure “sustainability” is a factor in their commercial roofing design. The term generally refers to avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance, as well as the ability to be maintain something at a certain rate or level as time passes.
As it turns out, environmentally-friendly practices can also pay off in energy savings from reduced power consumption while also lowering carbon dioxide emissions that scientists warn get trapped in the atmosphere, warming the Earth.
Tennessee Commercial Roofing & Construction (TRC) — our locally owned, commercial roofing and general contracting company located in Chattanooga, TN — provides expertise in commercial, hospitality, industrial and residential construction. When we design for “sustainability”, we’re focused on achieving high-performance design, construction, maintenance, and life-cycle components and practices that meet long-term environmental standards.
The Five E’s of Sustainable Roofing
To be considered “sustainable,” a roofing system must meet five attributes:
- Energy – does the roof reduce energy use?
- Environment – Does the roofing minimize the impact on the Earth throughout its life-cycle, including recycling?
- Endurance – Does the roof meet or exceed performance standards over the long haul?
- Economics – Does the performance throughout its life cycle justify the cost?
- Engineering – Does the roof use the right materials, design, install easily, and perform reliably over many years?
Reflective Roofing for Energy Efficiency
Reflectance is a key concept to grasp in this conversation. Much like the effect of wearing a white tee-shirt on a hot summer day as opposed to a black one, some roofs offer higher reflectivity than others. “Cool roof systems” (in contrast to dark colored “non-cool roofs”) save money and energy during peak cooling demand periods.
Benefits include lowered rooftop HVAC costs, reduction in the urban heat-island effect by reflecting solar heat rather than absorbing it to the building, and protection against deterioration of insulation and other materials by keeping moisture out.
“Urban heat-island effect” refers to the impact of materials in urban areas, such as concrete and asphalt, absorb and store sunlight, causing an average area temperature that is higher than nearby rural areas. This can also relate to urban air pollution.
High-Performance Roofing Helps to Cool in the Summer, Trap Heat in the Winter
Considering insulation performance in commercial roofing designs and opting for a high-emissivity reflective roofing system can not only decrease energy consumption during times of intense summer heat but also reduce winter heat loss. In other words, you spend less money on air conditioning during the summer to cool things off and spend less during the winter by preventing the heat generated inside a building from escaping as easily.
Studies like the one performed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that energy-efficient building design also helps the planet by lowering carbon dioxide emissions by thousands of pounds. The EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Roof Products Program establishes minimum standards for low-slope reflective roof products to have an initial reflectance of at least 65 percent, and a reflectance of at least 50 percent after three years of weathering.
Adding Sustainable Roofing Requires Long-Term Thinking
Sustainable roofing can also factor in manufacturing process that reduce fuel costs by making materials lightweight enough to be more easily transported to a job site. Reducing the amount of non-recyclable roofing waste sent to U.S. landfills is another worthy goal. Some roofing can be recycled at the end of its life as a roof into other useful products like specialty flooring. Cost savings may be realized by reduced disposal costs. Considering these factors requires our clients to think long-term, far ahead into the future, to anticipate and mitigate the processing of scrap so that waste is reduced even after a roof has outlived its usefulness as a cover.
There can be a temptation to think more short-term to reduce upfront costs, but a roof needs to protect the building for years in all types of weather. High-performance roofing means reliable performance of every roofing component against moisture, wind, high winds, extremes of hot and cold, and resistance to fire, chemicals, grease, punctures, and more. Your roof needs to provide resistance over time to rooftop contaminants such as acid rain and air pollution.
Then there’s the ease of maintenance and repair to consider as well so there’s no need for regular patching and repairs. When considering the costs of a sustainable roof design, which may require higher initial costs than other types of roofing, you definitely need to invest in protection from interior damage costs through leak-proof performance. TRC is licensed, insured and bonded so you never have to worry about such problems.
Let’s Talk About High-Performance Roofing for Your Chattanooga Tn Construction Needs
Whichever company you choose for your roofing project, you should seek a level of quality control implemented throughout the process — from raw material selection to job site delivery. When we sit down to discuss your roofing project, let’s discuss options for creating a roof system that is designed, constructed, maintained, rehabilitated and demolished with an emphasis on using natural resources more efficiently and preserving the environment. We can also talk about the “cool roof systems” and EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Roof Products Program.
For more information on high-performance roofing for projects in Hixson, Cleveland, Dayton, Dunlap, Knoxville, Kimball, South Pittsburg, Dalton, Trenton Ga, or Bridgeport AL, please call Tennessee Commercial Roofing & Construction at (423) 842-8826 or use the form on our contact page to set up a meeting to talk about options.
Copyright: kadmy / 123RF Stock Photo