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THE RIDGEWORTH BLOG
Is Your Roof Environmentally Friendly?
“Going green” is a popular term these days. Beyond the basic “reduce, reuse, recycle” focus that has become a part of everyday life for so many of us, more and more businesses are pursuing environmentally friendly practices through the materials they use and the approaches they take to getting a job done. When it comes to roofing, “green” can come in different forms.
Some of the techniques used to make a building more green aren’t technically green, and they have been around for quite some time. That doesn’t mean they’re not effective. Additional insulation helps maintain a building’s internal temperature, preventing the loss of heat through the roof in the winter and keeping cool air inside during the summer. This saves not only energy, but money as well.
White reflective roof surfaces are especially “green”—they use reflective materials to cast back the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them as a dark-colored roof would, keeping the inside of the building cooler. A building with this kind of “cool” roof will maintain significantly lower temperatures and will require less air conditioning. Less air conditioning, of course, means reduced energy use, emissions, and air pollution, which is good for the environment. The resulting lower roof-surface temperature can also help roof materials last longer—a win for you and the environment.
If your building is located in the City of Chicago and has been roofed or re-roofed in the past nine years or so, your roof has a reflective surface. The City has required reflective roofing products on new buildings and on any roofing project on a building already in existence since 2008. If you don’t have one yet and you’re due for some roofing work at some point soon, your future will likely get a little bit greener with a reflective roof surface.
Usually, though, when people think of “green” roofing, they think of the roofs that are actually green: vegetative roofs.
Also known as garden roofs, these very environmentally friendly roof surfaces have a vegetative layer growing on them and are available in a range of options: some roofs have a small amount of groundcover for basic vegetative growth, whereas others go so far as to include trees.
Vegetative roofs provide more than just plants. They remove heat from the air surrounding the roof through evapotranspiration, maintain a low surface temperature, and reduce energy use for internal temperature regulation. These outcomes are good for the environment and your bottom line.
Another part of the “green” roof movement is solar panels, which convert the abundant sunlight found on rooftops to electricity. Solar panels can save a building owner money by providing enough energy to allow a building to become less reliant on the energy grid. Although initially expensive, some consider the return on investment for solar panels worth the startup cost.
The movement toward green building has brought new challenges and opportunities to the roofing industry and to building owners as well. All of these advances require extensive knowledge and specialized training. Find a professional roofing contractor who is aware of current codes and best practices when it comes to all types of roofing.
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"When it comes to roofing, “GREEN” can come in different forms"