RoofPoint Rating System Helps Define Real Roofing Sustainability
August 2012 - Roofing
Roofing is changing. Sure, the components are mostly the same, but the purposes of roofing are what's really changing. Roofing is no longer just a cover on a building, replaced every two or three decades, and then forgotten about for the next two or three. Increasingly, a rooftop is seen as an asset for the building, a working part of the whole. It can be an part of an energy source through the placement of photovoltaic panels, for example. Or it can house chillers, rain collection systems, telecommunication devices, and many other objects vital to an organization's success.
Sometimes, rooftops even function as social areas, and one needs look no further than the use of garden roofs as parks, gathering spaces, and agricultural plots to understand this use.
In short, roofs have become living laboratories — they weather inclement conditions, benign neglect, and sporadic maintenance. Because of all this, they are one of the emerging testbeds for sustainable building practices.
The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (CEIR) recognizes the potential for roofing; 18 months ago, the center established a pilot version of the RoofPoint rating system to help facility managers identify and select the optimum roofing for any organization, whether new construction or a retrofit.
A Focus Only On Roofing
At present, the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system has an extensive set of criteria for roofing, but it doesn't serve best those building owners who are preparing for a re-roofing project. That's where one of the biggest benefits of RoofPoint is found.
Specifically, RoofPoint helps building owners achieve sustainability goals on existing construction without having to sift through "whole-building" methods to target roofing.
Craig Silvertooth, executive director at CEIR, further notes that the current LEED program specifically references roofing in regard to only two characteristics: cool roof surfaces and vegetative roofs.
"Although many other roofing-related characteristics are embedded within many LEED credits, they may be difficult to winnow out and apply to a roofing project," he says.
Nevertheless, the focus of the two is similar. Like LEED, RoofPoint contains exhaustive energy-efficiency criteria.
"Because LEED criteria depend primarily on the use of whole-building energy modeling, the criteria may be difficult and costly to apply to a typical roofing project," says Jim Hoff, research director for the CEIR. "RoofPoint addresses this challenge by providing a series of prescriptive energy standards, including recommended minimum R-values, elimination of thermal discontinuities and installation of roof air barriers that allow roofing practitioners to effectively meet the intent of whole-building approaches without requiring complicated and expensive energy modeling."
But energy efficiency is just one piece of the equation. To be truly sustainable and to meet RoofPoint criteria, a roof must fit several criteria, including durability and proper installation. While choosing roofs based on their reflectivity or energy efficiency is nothing new to the roofing market in the last decade, Hoff indicates that there's increasingly a groundswell pressure to install roofing that's durable.
About CEIR & RoofPoint
The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization whose mission is to promote the development and use of environmentally responsible, high performance roof systems and technologies. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center serves as a forum to draw together the roofing industry to the common cause of raising public awareness of the strategic value of our nation's roofs in reducing energy consumption, mitigating environmental impact and enhancing the quality of the builds in which we live and work.
RoofPoint is a voluntary, consensus-based green rating system developed by the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing to provide a means for building owners and designers to select nonresidential roof systems based on long-term energy and environmental benefits.
With the launch of the RoofPoint website (www.roofpoint.org), both industry stakeholders and the public now have access to the information on sustainable roof systems, including case studies of organizations that participated in the RoofPoint pilot program.
The Center's executive director, Craig Silvertooth explained that "the website allows visitors to complete project evaluations and registration through an online portal and will feature online tools and an exam for professionals interested in obtaining the RoofPoint Registered Professional designation."