It seems every few months there's a new certification coming out. New codes. New standards. New guidelines.
Most of it is voluntary, but increasingly green codes are becoming mandatory. And while some might see red (instead of green) with the new codes, it's mostly for the better, especially when facility executives are considering roofing.
As a case in point, the new International Green Construction Code is debuting, and it contains some ramifications for new construction and re-roofing work.
Choose a single-ply membrane roof, however, and compliance with the new IGCC code might not be so painful, especially considering that it contains mandatory requirements.
"For roofing, the IGCC seeks higher thermal values, better R-value ratings," says Mark Graham, the National Roofing Contractor Association's associate vice president for technical services. "There are also lower VOC requirements."
Graham notes that the IGCC is an effort to establish minimum green codes.
For building owners considering single-ply membrane roofing, the minimums shouldn't be difficult to achieve.
"Extremely high temperatures reduce the effective R-value of the most widely used types of insulation," says Drew Ballensky, a general manager at Duro-Last Roofing. "Cooler surfaces help preserve and keep rooftop insulation materials cooler."
But if the IGCC is mandatory, jurisdictions can choose from a series of electives that help meet code requirements.
For roofing in particular, cool roofs are required in Climate Zones 1, 2 and 3 and are a project elective in climates zones 4 through 8.
Vegetative roof systems, which single-ply membrane systems can support, have specific requirements, according to Graham. If used, he says, there needs to be a minimum of 80 percent coverage two years after installation.
There are also requirements for recycling non-hazardous debris, he says.
The IGCC requires a minimum of 50 percent recycling of tear-off debris, but jurisdictions can require up to 75 recyclability.
For owners, says Ballensky, this requirement is easy to fulfill. "(Most single-ply memebranes) are completely recyclable, meaning virtually no fabrication scrap goes to landfills, and post-consumer membranes can be re-used."
And because post-consumer single-ply membranes can be recycled into new roofing materials, they help meet another IGCC requirement, which stipulates at least 55 percent of materials selection (measured by weight, volume, or cost), needs to be used, recycled, or is recyclable.
For facility executives considering membrane roofing, NRCA's Graham has a few suggestions:
"Draft versions of the code have already been adopted by Rhode Island and is recommended for adoption in Maryland. That means building owners need to know ramifications at the state or local level - contact the local code offices and ask some critical questions, such as: 'Is this on your agenda?' and 'What's the timetable for adoption?'"
Ballensky notes that the aim of the code is in keeping with many of the industry's attempt to keep single-ply roofing as 'green' as possible.
"Sustainability attributes of all components for the entire system should be considered," he says. "This is more than just a consideration of direct product attributes. It involves a deeper look into the facilities and activities that are utilized in the production and delivery of the system."