As we move into the future, the need to become more energy efficient becomes imperative for all companies. Whether renovating an existing building or designing a new one, building owners and managers must consider sustainability when designing rooftops and choosing rooftop equipment.
Designing Sustainable Roofs: Starting Basic
Doing something as simple as changing the color of your roof can have a huge impact—both on your building and on those nearby. Painting your roof white or choosing a white roof membrane can reduce your energy costs while reducing the urban heat island effect.
The secret is as simple as physics. White pigment reflects light, and therefore heat. Black pigment absorbs it. A black roof in full sun can reach extreme temperatures, resulting in an urban heat island that’s up to 7°F hotter than surrounding regions. The resulting heat radiates into the building, making you spend that much more money to keep a livable temperature. What’s more, the heat breaks down your roof materials, resulting in increased maintenance costs.
White roofs are far cooler in full sun. This means that a white roof can passively cool your building, resulting in reduced energy costs and lower maintenance costs. What’s more, a white roof also cools down the surrounding neighborhood. If property values are important to you and your tenants, a white roof can make your area more desirable.
Designing Sustainable Roofs: Going Green
If your building is in a dense urban environment, another way to go green is literally by planting a green roof. This can be as simple as placing planter boxes on top of your roof, or as intensive as planting a deep layer of soil with room for many kinds of plants, including fruits and vegetables.
Low pitched commercial roofs are a great choice for green roofs. They get plenty of sunlight, and their low pitch allows excess water to run off the roof naturally, reducing irrigation demands. In addition, green roofs can produce a host of benefits.
For example, green roofs help with municipal stormwater management. Instead of letting water run off your roof and into the sewage system, your green roof will absorb stormwater and use it for growing plants. In addition, green roofs also help alleviate the urban heat island effect. Not only does the foliage reflect sunlight, but also moisture evaporating from plants helps cool down the roof via a process called transpiration.
Lastly, installing a green roof provides direct benefits to your bottom line. By insulating the roof, green roofing material makes it easier to keep the building cool, reducing energy costs. The material also provides a barrier against direct UV exposure, increasing the lifespan of your roofing materials. Over a 40-year lifespan, adding a green roof to your building will save approximately $200,000 due to energy and maintenance reductions.
Designing Sustainable Roofs: Going Solar
Going solar can be said to be the ultimate expression of a sustainable commercial roof. Solar has the potential to massively reduce your building costs and increase the lifespan of your commercial roof. In addition, adding solar panels to your commercial roof may become mandatory at some point in the near future, which means that it may be best to get ahead of the curve.
Back in 2018, the state of California approved a new building code that mandated solar panels on all new homes in the region. With that legislation completed, the state immediately set its sights on commercial roofing. Discussions around this topic will likely affect the 2023 building code in the state, which will cover both new and existing commercial structures. As goes California, so goes the nation—a change in building codes there will likely influence several other states to follow suite.
Legal compliance is far from the only reason to begin investing in solar, however. Solar doesn’t just offset the electrical cost of running your building—it also increases the lifespan of your roofing materials by protecting them from UV exposure. Therefore, solar power can save you money in two ways—while also helping to save the environment.
Begin Your Journey to a Sustainable Roof with PHP Systems/Design
Here at PHP Systems/Design, we provide all the equipment you need to bring your sustainable roof into reality. Our rooftop support products allow you to safely construct and maintain a sustainable roof, while products like solar panel mounts allow you to get the best performance out of your sustainable roof systems. Begin your journey to sustainability with PHP Systems/Design!