Sustainability in roofing continues to drive choices in the roofing industry. In many states, there is legislation in place that requires green roofing and sustainability to be an option. In many cases, it is even mandatory. What this means for roofing contractors is that they need to change their materials, practices, and resources. With buildings working hard to become more sustainable, the roofing system is an integral part of the equation, and contractors are jumping on board across the country.
Sustainable options include green roofing or vegetative roofs, using longer life cycle products, Global Warming Potential (GWP) assemblies, more resilient roofing systems, and a host of additional eco-friendly materials or systems. Product life cycle must be at the forefront of design for roofing these days as sustainability and energy-efficiency are no longer aspirations but strong desires for the community. Roofing plays an important role in the overall sustainability of a building. Vegetative roofing is often a go-to because it is a green option that also offers an aesthetic appeal. These systems offer temperature regulation on both hot and cold days and help storm water management when it is rainy. They also offset carbon production by giving off oxygen during photosynthesis thus reducing the carbon footprint of the building. Buildings are the largest energy consumers in the economy according to the US Department of Energy and this impacts the building owner as well as the environment. With more eco-friendly options you can save money as a building owner, reduce costs and make a positive impact on the environment.
- Insulation: Insulation helps save energy and money and improved building efficiency. With more than 20% of energy lost through the roof, insulation can help reduce this and save you money. It also significantly reduces the carbon footprint and helps the environment as power plants do not need to power up as often which releases harmful emissions. Installing high-performance skylights can help you to achieve a connection with the natural environment. You get natural lighting for your indoor spaces without high energy bills.
- Solar panels: Solar panel installation allows you to use natural resources again instead of ones that cost you. Using solar panels helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and when installed properly they can last for close to 20 years. It may be costly in the beginning but over time you will recoup the costs and gain additional benefits. In many cases, there are federal and state incentives available for solar panel installation to encourage more use.
- Roof coating: Coating a roof surface extends its life by protecting it from the elements. When you use a lighter color, you can reflect sunlight away and contribute to energy savings for the building.
Beyond sustainable materials and systems, roofing contractors also need to develop sustainable workforces. Options such as self-adhered membranes can help with this as installation becomes more efficient and more projects can be completed quicker. There is also less hazardous waste which adds to your overall reputation in this new green world. The more eco-friendly your portfolio is, the better your roofing business will do. It is also becoming necessary for manufacturers to encourage eco-friendly buildings and sustainability. Manufacturers need to include initiatives for the development process to support this move towards greener roofing. Diverting waste from landfills and investing in habitat development are two great ways to achieve this and many manufacturers have started this already. In recent years there has been substantial improvement when it comes to reduced energy usage and reduction in the use of volatile compounds during installation processes. The roofing industry from workers to manufacturers must start looking at the environment and their roofing processes as a whole.
Adopting sustainable options and solutions has not always been a goal, as it was once driven by economics. The trend is now driven by a need for long-term growth which relies on sustainability. The roofing industry needs to do its part to support this trend and movement by adopting these solutions. The solutions will not only benefit the environment but in many ways make installation easier which can boost productivity and business. It really is a win-win situation for all.