Four Ways to an Environmentally Responsible Roof

Four Ways to an Environmentally Responsible Roof   March 5, 2008

Hello. This is Greg Zimmerman, executive editor of Building Operating Management magazine.

Today’s tip involves understanding the four characteristics that facility executives should consider if they’re looking for an environmentally responsible roof.

First, find out whether the roof contains recycled content, and if it can be recycled at the end of its useful life. Many metal roofing manufacturers have touted the recycled content and recyclability of their roofs for years, but now single-ply manufacturers are starting to set up programs for end-of-life recycling of their roofs as well. Diverting old roofing from landfills is a great way to be environmentally responsible, and it might save some cash on disposal fees.

Secondly, facility executives could use a vegetative, or green, roof. These roofs have the environmental advantages of helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect and reducing stormwater runoff. Also, because of their thick growing medium, they act as a layer of insulation and can help the building be energy efficient.

Speaking of energy efficiency, the most common way that roofs can be though of as environmentally responsible is that they can reflect the sun’s energy, saving money on cooling costs during hot summer days. So-called cool roofs are becoming the norm in many major cities, and are even mandated in some.

Finally, a technology that is quickly gaining momentum is the energy-generating building-integrated photovoltaic panel, or BIPVs. While BIPVs are a bit of tough justification on strictly financial payback terms, rebates and incentives, as well as the energy generated, can help make the return on investment more attractive.


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