Fall for Green Roofing
Autumn may have begun and the leaves are starting to fall, but there’s still green up there—on commercial rooftops, in a variety of forms. Commercial building owners and property managers have quite a few options—both literally and figuratively green—when it comes to a greener roof, all of which provide opportunities to reduce costs and have a more positive environmental impact.
A reflective or “cool” roof reflects the rays of the sun rather than absorbing them. A reflective roof utilizes a special type of thick paint or roof covering that absorbs less heat than standard roofing materials. Less heat absorption means the building can stay cooler inside, requiring less air conditioning during the hot summer months. Less air conditioning means less energy use and a lower energy bill for building owners. And if a building is not air conditioned, a reflective roof can help make indoor temperatures more comfortable for those inside.
The current IECC Code requires 5.2 inches of insulation in our climate zone on all new roof installations, but older roofs may not be meeting that standard. Insulation helps keep energy inside the building and outdoor temperatures out. Adding additional insulation to your commercial roof costs money, but it can help keep your building up to code, save you money in the long term with regard to energy consumption, and improve your building’s environmental impact.
Adding solar panels to a commercial roof has become more and more popular over the years—after all, they can significantly reduce monthly electric bills and possibly bring in extra income through surplus electricity generation. In addition, the use of solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions. State and federal incentive programs sweeten the deal for many building owners, especially those who have larger roofs.
When considering rooftop solar panels, you should also carefully consider the condition of the roof. It’s simply not cost-effective to install solar panels on an older roof. When that roof begins to fail, the panels will need to be decommissioned and removed, the roof replaced, and the solar panels reinstalled and recommissioned. To receive the maximum benefit from solar, you’ll want the roof underneath the panels to be structurally sound and good for at least 20 years. A good, solid solar plan includes a good, solid roof.
Literally “green,” garden roofs range from lightweight trays with vegetation to fully landscaped park-like settings with trees and water features. Whatever their design, garden roofs can help reduce the air temperature around the building through the natural process of evapotranspiration, in turn reducing indoor air temperatures and saving on energy consumption. In addition, garden roofs can help take pressure off storm sewer systems during heavy rains by absorbing rain water. The City of Chicago offers an expedited permit process for new buildings with a plan for at least 25% of the roof to be vegetative—a nice incentive for those who want a little more green on their buildings.
Taking greener measures with your commercial roof has many advantages: long-term savings, a reduction in air temperatures around your building, additional green space where you might not otherwise have it, a more positive environmental impact. Consider your options, and if you do decide to fall for green, call a trusted professional roofing contractor to get started.
From reflective roofing to garden roofs and everything in between, Ridgeworth Roofing’s experts have considerable experience with all types of green roofing. We can help you make the best decisions for your commercial roof. Give us a call today.