The concept of “sustainability” in commercial construction boils down to a few basic elements. These include using renewable and recyclable building materials during construction along with reducing energy consumption and waste during the building’s life cycle. The ultimate goal is to reduce its impact on the environment. Today’s commercial roofing systems can help achieve these objectives in several ways. Here’s a brief look at a few.
Waste reduction. The manufacture of roofing materials can generate a lot of waste. However, today’s roof production processes are efficient, and recycle manufacturing scrap back into the final product. This reduces the amount of waste sent to a landfill, as well as the amount of fuel needed to transport it. In addition, some commercial roofing materials can be recycled at the end of their lifespan on the building. Some manufacturers have recycling programs in place that take old roofing systems and convert them into other building materials.
Efficient energy use. Reflectivity provided by white roofing membranes has been making a positive environmental impact for many years, by decreasing the amount of solar heat transferred into a commercial building and reducing the power load on rooftop HVAC units. In addition, because modern single-ply roofing systems are lightweight, they require less fuel to transport to the job site.
Mitigating urban heat islands (UHIs). In the summertime, cities tend to become much warmer than the surrounding countryside, creating what are known as urban heat islands. This effect helps produce smog and greenhouse gases, both of which aggravate respiratory health problems. Reflective “cool” commercial roofs help reduce the urban heat island effect.
Enabling alternative roof system installations. Vegetative and solar roofing systems are relatively new, but becoming more common in the commercial space. It’s important to realize that these technologies require a reliable commercial roofing system underneath to provide long-term, watertight protection with minimal maintenance, because access to the roof surface once the solar or veggie system is installed will be difficult. If you’re considering such a rooftop installation, it’s a good financial choice to replace an aging roof underneath now, rather than later.
When it comes to choosing your roofing contractor, look for one who follows good environmental practices. This can include using fuel-efficient vehicles, keeping the worksite free of waste, and minimizing the generation of scrap during installation.
Complete Commercial Roofing is ready to help you meet your commercial building sustainability goals. We look forward to working with you – Call 765-457-4848.