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6 Strategies to Make Commercial Roofs More Sustainable

Posted by Art Valentz on July 12, 2023

Sustainability is on everyone's mind these days, whether it's because of personal long-term commitments to the cause or expanding environmental worries. In either scenario, it can be challenging to determine what constitutes sustainability, particularly when it comes to building materials. So where do you even begin when it comes to commercial roofing systems?

When establishing a new space or remodeling a portion of your existing roofing structure, you should frequently look for environmentally friendly choices. A roof that reduces energy use and promotes environmental sustainability should be at the top of your list. Even after installing a roof, there are several things you can do to make it more sustainable.

In this article, we will discuss some important strategies that you can follow to make commercial roofs more sustainable.

1.    Carry Out Routine Maintenance

Owners of commercial buildings must maintain their roofs to avoid serious problems in the long run. Your roof will eventually sustain damage after a few months, and you will need to pay a sizable sum to have it repaired. Roof upkeep is less expensive than paying a large sum for roofing repairs.

Typically, roofing contractors check your roof for any damage or problems that could eventually worsen. When they spot a problem, they can fix it quickly to prevent it from getting worse. The roofing experts may also help you plan for future roofing needs so that you won't be caught off guard by unexpected costs for roofing repairs. If your roof only lasts a few years, it will generate more landfill waste, which will have a negative impact on the environment.

2.    Install Skylights

After the HVAC system, lighting is a commercial building's second-largest electricity consumer. It is possible to increase the number of daylighting skylights on the roof to lessen the need for artificial illumination inside the structure. Qualified professionals can give you a plan with projected yearly energy savings in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year and an estimate of your annual savings based on your utility rates. The best prospects for daylighting skylights are huge, one-story buildings with abundant overhead lighting, such as distribution centers and warehouses.

3.    Install Solar Panels on the Roof

Installing solar panels can provide several valuable benefits. For example, solar panels can block sunlight, reducing cooling costs. Moreover, they also reduce solar rays hitting the roof and transferring within the building. In addition, they extend the life of the roof for the same reason.

According to American research by the University of San Diego engineering department, panels effectively serve as roof shades. Photovoltaic panels absorb solar energy from the sun rather than the roof, which would otherwise allow heat to pass through the roof and into the building's ceiling. The wind that blows between the roof and the panels, therefore, dissipates a significant amount of the heat.

You might anticipate a significant decrease in the energy you use to cool your commercial building, depending on the thermal characteristics of your roof.

4.    Install a Reflective Coating

Solar-reflective coatings provide a strong, affordable alternative. The cooling impact of solar-reflective coatings is ultimately responsible for many of their advantages. Reflective coatings on roofs can significantly reduce a structure's heat absorption when used in conjunction with appropriate insulation and an effective building envelope.

On a roof, the typical solar-reflective coating can reduce the temperature by up to 40 degrees compared to a non-reflective coating. This directly correlates to lower cooling expenses for building owners. The biggest benefit is the substantial reduction in cooling costs.

Another advantage of solar-reflective coatings is their resilience to heat and UV rays. This heat resistance helps in shielding coatings from the harm caused by the thermal shock that results when raindrops strike a hot rooftop. The roof constantly maintains a significantly lower temperature and is less vulnerable to damage from rain or sudden temperature swings when it has a solar-reflective coating. The coating will resist heat and sun damage for a longer period of time before needing to be replaced, and it works to lower energy use over the course of its life.

5.    Recycle Old Roof

Millions of tons of roofing trash result from re-roofing projects, which is why it's crucial to manage roof waste properly. Each year, more than 8 million tons of roofing tear-off debris are disposed of in landfills in the United States.

While some forms of insulation and built-up roofs cannot be recycled, most roofing materials are excellent candidates for recycling, repurposing, or reuse. A sizable amount of the packaging for new goods brought to the site (such as pallets, plastic wrap, pails, and cardboard) can also be recycled in addition to demolition trash.

6.    Fix Your Roof Insulation

If your insulation isn't doing its job properly, heat will leak out in the winter and enter in the summer, forcing HVAC systems to work harder to make up for it. Insulation is generally regarded as the most effective way to obtain energy savings from roofs.

It's crucial to get an estimate of annual energy usage expenses connected to the insulation levels of different roof systems before starting a new roofing project. You can estimate the reductions in heating and cooling costs brought on by each choice and assess the thermal efficiency of simulated roof assemblies using the NRCA's Energy Wise Roofing Calculator.

Keep people off the roof when the roof system is installed to stop foot traffic from compressing the insulation. Repairing leaks as soon as they occur can help prevent damp insulation, which will help maintain the insulation's thermal performance.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, if you wish to make your commercial roof more sustainable, we recommend you follow the above-mentioned strategies. If you need an expert's assistance to improve your roof's energy efficiency, get in touch with PHP Systems/Design. We can provide solar panel mounts, roof walkway systems, roof walkways, roof crossover systems, portable pipe hangers, roof stairs, and other parts and equipment that may be required to carry out the roofing maintenance and coating work.

Topics: Roofing Management

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