SUSTAINABILITY IS BECOMING A KEY FOCUS FOR EVERYONE
People who never once thought about their environmental impact until a few years ago are now pioneers for the green movement, and the same can be said of many organizations. It seems as though we are entering an “era of enlightenment” surrounding our environmental awareness. So, with all the increase in concern for the environment and sustainability, what do we know regarding sustainable roofing?
Sustainable roofing is a key factor in reducing your building’s footprint.
We know that that the roof system contributes a great deal to the efficient energy use of a building. When changes are made to a building in an attempt to make it more efficient, they usually focus only on the building envelope (walls and roof), the HVAC system or the lighting within the building.
In order to improve the building envelope, most facility managers typically focus on adding some form of superinsulation or on improving the roofing technology by installing a cool roof, a green roof, or solar panels.
There are four main types of sustainable roofing options that you can read about here, and underneath each of these types there are many options for improving the sustainability of your roofing system. Here are some sustainable roofing ideas you can read about if you’d like to see some specifics. For a general summary, read on.
Benefits of Sustainable Roofing
There are many benefits to be reaped by society and by the planet when you make responsible choices for your building. There are also many benefits that impact you as the building owner or facility manager. If you make good decisions for your building regarding your sustainable roofing system, you can help the environment and also your bottom line.
Sustainable Roofing Benefits the Building Owner
If you do it right, you can invest in your roof and reap the benefits for years to come. The benefits come to you in many different ways, the first of with is in energy savings.
If you install a roof that is reflective as well as a great insulator, you will see your cooling bill go down in the summer and your heating bill go up in the summer. One of the best ways to achieve this is through an SPF roof with a layer of white silicone coating on top. The SPF serves as the insulator and has some of the highest R-values on the market, while the silicone coating is reflective and helps you keep the facility cool even when the sun beats down. This combination results in energy savings that can pay off the installation costs of the roof in as little as four years.
You can also save money by installing a roofing system that collects water and recycles it for use in and around your building. You can capture rooftop water and repurpose it for non-drinking applications without requiring filtration. By redirecting rooftop water to hydrate your landscaping or supply a sprinkler system with, you can cut down on your water bill.
You can also improve the conditions your workers are in by improving your roofing system. When workers are inside the building, is it hot and stuffy in the summer and cold and dry in the winter? This is because most roofing systems absorb the suns UV rays and transfer them into the building. Unless you are spending big money on your heating and cooling system, you won’t keep up and the working conditions will become very uncomfortable. By installing a roofing system that reflects the suns heat, rather than absorbing it, you can make working conditions much better for your employees.
Peace of Mind
Finally, your own personal peace of mind has to be considered. You cannot put a price tag on peace of mind, and if you know that you are doing everything you can to make sure your building is helping, rather than hurting, the environment around you, you will feel much better about your efforts each night you go home. Whether you are a building owner, a facility manager, or an architect working on a new building, you want to know that you are doing the right thing. This gives you peace of mind that truly cannot be valued.
Sustainable Roofing Benefits the Environment
Making your building more sustainable will not only benefit you, but will also benefit the environment around you. This is a “two birds with one stone” scenario, and is a great reason to look very closely at sustainable roofing.
In much the same way that sustainable roofing benefits you as a building owner when related to energy, it also benefits the environment. By requiring less energy, you place less stress on your local power companies which leads to lower pollution levels attributed to your building. Reducing energy consumption is a win for everyone.
By using the water your building captures, you can greatly reduce demand on municipal water sources. Just as with energy consumption, the less water you consume in your building, everyone is better off.
Also, if you are on sewer, capturing rooftop water reduces the amount of pollution that enters your cities waterways. While no single building will make or break a sewer system, if pollution and debris is coming off of every building in a municipality that is a huge amount of increased stress on the sewer system.
Urban Heat Islands
If you aren’t familiar with the concept of urban heat islands, you can read more about them here. By installing a reflective roof, or a living roof, you can reduce the amount your building contributes to the urban heat island effect, which means your local environment is that much closer to normality. As with all environmentally conscious efforts, no single building will change the environment on its own, but each building is crucial to the overall effort.
There are benefits to be reaped from sustainable roofing both by you and your building, and by the environment. It is easy to see that it is more than just a bottom line decision. You have to also weigh the impact you are having on the environment and how that will impact future generations. We can really start to change for the better how we impact the environment if we make conscious decisions, starting with our roofs.