Earth Day is coming up once again! Let's look at some sustainable options for commercial roofing.
Ever since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has been known for building awareness and encouraging action to resolve the environmental issues in our world. This year is no different, and we’re here to participate in our own way. We're bringing sustainable commercial roofing options to the attention of commercial roofers, commercial building owners, property managers, and everyone else that has a vested interest in the future of our planet.
How the Roofing Industry Has Affected the Environment
Any form of construction is a significant undertaking, and there is always an environmental cost. The commercial roofing industry is no exception to this.
Roof removal and replacement have taken a heavy toll on property owners, roofing contractors, and the environment alike. Disposing of the debris from the removal of the roof materials, insulation materials, and underlayment materials requires additional labor and transportation to comply with proper waste disposal practices.
Even then, these materials typically end up in already overcrowded landfills. Every year, the United States alone disposes of roughly 11 million tons of asphalt shingles — the most common material for residential roofing projects across the country. Not counting other forms of waste from other residential and commercial roofing projects, shingle waste already constitutes 10% of total construction and demolition debris.
On the bright side, more and more roofing companies today are making a commitment to sustainable building materials. Be it sustainable roof coating, recycled materials, or solar-ready roofs, the roofing industry is making strides in securing a brighter future for the environment.
Your Options for Sustainable Commercial Roofing
This year, the theme of Earth Day is “Invest In Our Planet.” It highlights the impact that businesses can have in promoting sustainability initiatives. Every time you’re faced with a choice regarding how your business operates, you have a chance to do better. One of those decisions is the type of roof you’ll be installing on a commercial property. Eco-friendly roofing will help you bring down energy costs and ensure that you won’t be filling up a landfill when the roof reaches the end of its lifespan. Here are some common sustainable roofing options available on the market today:
Sustainable Roof Coatings
Sustainable roof coatings are the easiest way to move towards sustainable roofing without completely overhauling your roof. You simply apply them over your existing roof. By applying a light-colored roof coating to a black, uncoated roof, the amount of solar energy and heat absorbed is cut down by anywhere from 20-50%, easing the load on your cooling systems.
Castagra's Ecodur Roof Coating is a great example of an eco-friendly roof coating that doesn't sacrifice performance. Aside from being easy to apply, it also produces zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and contains zero BPA. Made with natural ingredients - its two core ingredients being renewable castor oil and recyclable gypsum - Ecodur also has zero toxicity and has 3x better adhesion than conventional roof coatings.
Learn more about Castagra's Ecodur Roof Coating here.
Green roofs are an emerging trend as more and more business owners realize the appeal of sustainable roofing. Using your roof as a space for living plants is an incredibly eco-friendly roofing option. Not only will it provide natural insulation and reduce energy costs, it can also reduce water run-off, and provide a home for native insects and birds. It can also contribute to removing CO2 from the atmosphere, improve air quality, and serve as a relaxing leisure area or an agricultural space.
Keep in mind, however, that green roofs require expert design and engineering. Before installation can begin, the building must be examined to determine if it can carry the weight of the green roof. The plants must be selected carefully, with regards to the local climate (e.g. rainfall, wind conditions, sun exposure). Layers must also be installed correctly, such as the growing medium (e.g. soil or peat moss), filtering layer, draining and retention mat, and waterproofing membrane. When designed and executed well, a green roof is a definite improvement to any building.
Metal roofs are a popular choice for commercial roofing, and also one of the most sustainable options. They are energy-efficient as they tend to reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb heat. Also, they allow for additional layers of insulation, promoting further energy conservation. With good ventilation, a metal roof will be very effective at cooling your building compared to other roofing types.
Beyond that, most metal roofs are also made from recycled materials. Steel, aluminum, tin, copper, and zinc can be sourced from many other products, such as empty soda cans. At the end of your roof’s life, it can also be recycled into another product, furthering the cycle of sustainability. Additionally, metal roofs are among the longest lasting roofing types in the industry.
Solar roofs are another recent trend in the roofing industry. Panels or solar tiles are becoming a popular choice for environmentally-conscious property owners, in order to minimize their utility bills and reduce their dependence on other sources of energy, such as harmful fossil fuels. The solar panels are also meant to be very durable. They're capable of withstanding wind and rain and working at full capacity for roughly 25-30 years. When the panels reach the end of their lifespan, they can be recycled into other glass or metal products.
Key Takeaway: Help Protect the Environment, One Roof at a Time
At Castagra, we recognize that our actions have the ability to impact the environment positively — but only if we choose to. This year, we want to encourage you — whether you’re a building owner, property manager, or roofer — to “Invest In Our Planet”. Make the conscious choice to use sustainable building materials for your next roofing project!