CHECK OUT THESE SUSTAINABLE ROOFING IDEAS FOR YOUR BUILDING.
No one wants to harm the environment, but are you being as proactive as you should be? If you’re looking for ways to improve the sustainability of your roofing system and decrease your environmental footprint, one place you might look is the building you own, manage, or work in. There are many benefits that come from utilizing some of these and other sustainable roofing ideas, both for you and the environment. Here are some sustainable roofing ideas for you to consider that will help the environment and reduce your footprint. These ideas and suggestions are modeled after The National Great Rivers Research & Education Center. This building was designed to have the smallest footprint possible, and while you most likely won’t adopt all of their methods, you can use some of them to improve your building’s performance.
Almost all buildings, especially large buildings, have access to direct sunlight on the roof. If you install solar panels or some other solar technology on the top of your building, you can harness the sun’s rays and turn it into energy to supplement the building’s power. Sustainable roofing ideas regarding the use of solar energy include powering certain aspects of your building, such as outdoor lighting, automatic doors, a PA system, or you can even use solar power to charge and power your backup generator. The options are nearly endless regarding the applications of solar energy; you just have to take the first step and install the panels on your roof. There are also great benefits to be gained by installing a solar and SPF roofing system, they work together very well.
This website shows some of the different layouts and styles of solar panels that are possible. One of the newest sustainable roofing ideas has found a way to use the sun’s power to provide light, not with solar panels, but with solar tubes. Solar tubes are a really cool innovation in the lighting industry that place a window on the roof, connected to a pipe or tube filled with mirrors, and then attached to what looks like a light fixture on the other side. The mirrors reflect the light down into the building and provide natural sunlight. Of course, these only provide light during the day, but that can save you an average of 12 hours a day on energy bills on a sunny day.
Some of the most common sustainable roofing ideas improve the energy consumption of your building is through the use of a high-efficiency roofing system. By installing a roofing system that is a strong insulator, your cold air stays inside during the summer and your hot air stays inside during the winter. This allows you to save significant money when it comes to your heating bill. You can also look at a reflective roof coating overtop of your well-insulated roof that will further the amount of money you save. A reflective coating sends the sun’s UV rays back into the atmosphere, rather than absorbing them and heating up your building in the hot summer months.
Stormwater is a great source of water that is rarely utilized by building owners and managers. Rather than directly capture the stormwater, we tend to let it run off our buildings into water collection systems installed by the city, who then purify the water and pump it back to us. One of the longest tenured sustainable roofing ideas is capturing storm water and reusing it within the building. You can install a stormwater retention system and use it for many non-drinking functions in your building without the cost of installing a purifier. Most notably, you can simply use this water for irrigation within and around the building. This reduces stress on your public water provider and will save you money on your water consumption bill. The folks at H20 Capture have a website devoted to teaching you how to capture and reuse water runoff from your building.
Many building owners today are going with “live roofing systems” to minimize their environmental impact. These buildings have plant life growing on the roof which puts oxygen back in the atmosphere and minimizes the impact the building has on the local ecology. There are two common sustainable roofing ideas regarding living roofs, and one is superior to the other. The first is to grow native plants on your live roofing system. By growing native plants, you can be assured they are growing in the correct environment with the correct weather, and they can contribute to the wildlife. The second, less effective way to utilize a living roof is to grow whatever you think looks good, native or not. While these plants may grow and will still release oxygen into the atmosphere, they won’t interact with the environment quite as well as native plants would. Either way is better than no plants, but if you’re going to choose a living roof, we recommend growing native plants.
Many building owners have begun to make a greater attempt at utilizing the space on their roof for their operations. The Great Rivers Research & Education Center uses their roof as a classroom and meeting space so that it is not wasted. What could you use your roof space for? On a one story, flat roofed building, you could essentially double the amount of space in your building by utilizing the roof. One of the keystone sustainable roofing ideas is installing a roofing system designed to last a long time. It doesn’t do any good for you to install classrooms and open-air meeting spaces on your roof if you have to replace it every ten years and start from scratch. Ensuring your building has a long useful life is crucial to truly utilizing the space.
These are just a few sustainable roofing ideas and there are many other options out there that may work for you and your building. These ideas or others that you discover can provide huge benefits to you, your building, and the environment around it. Why not do some more research on your own and plan some improvements to the efficiency of your building? There are credits and awards available to facility managers that create an energy efficient building system, so it is certainly worth the time and effort researching. Thanks for reading! Use the tool on the right to subscribe to our newsletter and have posts like this delivered to your inbox!