Sustainable Roofing Options Demand Unique Maintenance Activities

By Dan Hounsell, Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Roofing Systems: Membranes, Installation, and Coatings Affect SustainabilityPt. 2: Roofing Systems Impact Heating, Cooling LoadsPt. 3: Vegetative and Photovoltaic Roofing Systems Emerge as Sustainability LeadersPt. 4: This PagePt. 5: PRODUCT FOCUS: Sustainable Roofing

Regular inspection and timely repairs have long been mainstays of roofing system maintenance, but because roofs are playing a greater role in many organizations’ long-term strategies, including energy management, maintenance that extends their performance is increasingly essential. As systems evolve, so do their maintenance requirements, and manufacturers are beginning to see the change.

“There has been a natural progression toward more inspection and keeping up with maintenance,” Gray says. “There’s a lot more attention to preventive maintenance and roofing management as an asset-management strategy.”

For example, light-colored roofs tend to require more attention than their darker-colored counterparts.

“Roofs tend to discolor over the years, so cleaning or re-coating a roof may be required to maximize reflectivity over longer periods of time,” Geary says. “If a vegetative or photovoltaic system is installed on the roof, care must be taken during the installation. Maintaining these systems after they are installed will require special attention to keep the roof in optimal condition.”

In planning for maintenance of vegetative systems, Baumann says, managers will need to update workers’ existing activities to incorporate such tasks as monitoring irrigation systems, fertilizing, trimming, pruning, controlling insects and disease, and removing debris.

For all of the conversation about the role of roofing systems in improving facilities’ sustainability, manufacturers say they will continue talking with managers to help them make the case for such investments within their organizations. Manufacturers know they have work to do.

“It’s hard to sell for some of these systems on initial capital investment because it can be higher,” Bauer says. “For companies that are life-cycle-cost oriented, sustainability is an easier sell.” He puts K-12 schools, universities, and government organizations in the second category.

On the other hand, private industry and commercial real estate organizations tend to focus more on initial cost, not as much on life-cycle costs and long-term sustainability. But the situation is changing in some of these companies. In commercial real estate, for example, owners might be more focused on initial cost, he says, “but the companies that are moving into these buildings are making owners think more about sustainability.”

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  posted on 7/1/2009   Article Use Policy

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