What are the most sustainable Commercial Roofing types?
Whether they are building new construction or renovating an existing structure people are looking for sustainable roofing solutions. Searching for construction materials that are less harmful to the environment is not always easy or cheap, but many people want to feel good about the decisions they make and their impact on the planet.
What is sustainable roofing?
When a material is said to be sustainable, it generally means that it can be produced without negative effects to the planet. This is why, for instance, people advise staying away from particular types of woods of endangered species, or woods which deplete the world’s rainforests.
Sustainability also includes impact on the climate. Some roofs help keep neighborhoods cooler by reflecting the rays of the sun. Roofs can be part of managing droughts by helping to capture stormwater. They may also keep the home underneath from getting too hot or cold through insulative properties. Some people literally have green roofing made of plants or grass!
Waste is also an important part of sustainability. Roofing that doesn’t last very long needs to be replaced frequently, generating materials that will have to go to landfills.
This type of roofing is a great choice for sustainability. Clay tiles are durable, meaning they won’t have to be replaced as often. Terra cotta comes from clay, which is extremely plentiful, which makes their manufacturer sustainable.
Clay has a great look, and is very popular in certain areas of the country, especially the southwest. It’s great in hot areas. This is because air can circulate underneath the tiles keeping temperatures at a more constant level. Reducing your heating and cooling costs certainly aids in sustainability.
Wood shakes or tiles have a great, old fashioned look. They are considered to be sustainable because wood itself is a renewable resource. Of course, you need to make sure your wood is harvested from environmentally friendly species and forests. Check to make sure it comes from “FSC Certified Wood.”
When you remove a wood roof, it’s totally biodegradable which is a plus. Sometimes wood roofs are treated with chemicals, which may have the opposite effect, so make sure to opt for environmentally friendly treatments for your woods.
This type of roof is uncommon and with good reason. It’s complicated and expensive to install, but for someone who is truly committed to living with the land, there is no better choice! Green roofs can be found in both residential and commercial roofing. The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is an example of an extremely innovative and attractive living roof.
Since these roofs are quite heavy, the supporting structure needs to be strong enough to hold it. On the bottom layer of a green roof is a waterproof membrane. This is essential because the grass and growing medium will retain a fair amount of moisture.
Next, soil is added containing organic and inorganic materials. After that, grass or plants native to the area are planted.
The benefits are a high level of insulation and temperature regulation. It can help avoid the “heat island” effect that occurs in more dense urban areas when more conventional building materials retain heat even when the sun has gone down.
When other discarded materials are used again for useful purposes, they are kept out of landfills. They also have the benefit of decreasing the overall amount of manufacturing needed to produce new materials.
Wood from old structures, rubber from tires, and plastic from all sorts of items can be combined to form shingles. These shingles are usually more durable than asphalt. They are often extremely fire-safe as well.
Despite the fact that the raw materials are used, the processing required to turn old wood, rubber and plastic can be a bit more expensive than composition or asphalt shingles. However, many people appreciate the benefit to the environment of turning trash into something useful!
Metal is a great material for commercial roofing. Metal itself isn’t necessarily a sustainable material due to the high amount of processing required. However, it is sustainable in the sense that they are extremely durable so they do not have to be replaced very often.
Metal has several benefits. First, it is among the most durable materials you can choose. It resists wind, hail, rain, snow or just about anything else mother earth can throw at it. It’s also pretty impervious to fire.
They are also relatively inexpensive to install, which is a plus. Metal can come in all sorts of colors and finishes and can complement just about any exterior. Since metal can also help divert rainwater, it can have added environmental benefits. Make sure that any coatings applied to the metal are environmentally friendly.
This type of roofing comes in large panels for easy installation. Corrugated panels were often made of metal but now come in other materials like polycarbonate or fiberglass. If just metal or opaque isn’t your thing, they come in all sorts of colors or can be painted any shade you like.
Corrugated roofing is highly durable. It’s usually very resistant to the formation of mold and algae. It’s also fire-resistant.
The ripples that make up corrugated roofing contribute to their strength. They also make them good reflectors of heat and sunlight.
TPO or “thermoplastic polyolefin” is a synthetic material. So, in that sense, it’s not sustainable. However, they are excellent choices over overall environmental sustainability for other reasons.
First, they are highly reflective which reduces the heat island effect. It also keeps the structure underneath at a more constant temperature, cutting down on heating and cooling costs. It’s also highly durable, meaning less frequent roof replacements.
TPO comes in many different colors. White is a common choice, but it comes in shades of brown, green, blue, orange, and red as well.
Since it’s lightweight, it is compatible with most existing buildings. You won’t have to retrofit extra support, as you might have to do with a concrete or other heavy roof. This tough material is easy to install and highly fire-resistant making it a great choice for just about any structure.
Horizon Roofing – serving the Orange County, CA area – is your reliable local roofing contractors. We specialize in residential roofing and commercial roofing and have been in the industry for over a decade. We have excellent reviews and look forward to serving your need.