What does sustainability mean to the roofing industry? Seems like a simple question, but it’s not so simple to answer. Different roof types impact the environment in different ways. When sustainability in roofing first became relevant, the thought immediately jumped to green roofs, which provide rainwater management while protecting the underlying materials, insulating the building, and offering an appealing aesthetic. White roofs, which reflect heat off the building and reduce the ”urban heat island” effect, have caught on as energy cost cutters in certain climates. However, their reflectance may be wasting the suns rays and increasing heating costs during winter months in colder regions, and controversy exists over whether they are a help or a hindrance to global warming.
Of paramount importance to sustainability, then, is durability. A roof with a long service life requires replacement less often, which reduces the need for construction materials, saves the energy used to produce them, and avoids having to send discarded material to landfills. It is necessary, then, to consider a roof’s life cycle when opting for sustainability—ensure the roof is built properly and made to last. Choosing environmentally-friendly products, such as those that are recyclable and/or made from recycled products, are a good option if the material demonstrates acceptable longevity. Using natural materials, such as slate and tile, gives you a roof with a useful life upwards of 75 years. Ballast roofing, which can be replaced without affecting a structure’s insulation, is another option to consider. Additionally, new international building codes are requiring higher levels of insulation, in order to essentially reduce heating and cooling costs.
So, you can see that there are many effective choices for adding a sustainable element to any roof. And when you’re planning your next roofing project, Knickerbocker Roofing is ready to help you select the right strategy to meet your sustainability goals.