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Tag Archive: garden roofs

  1. Sustainability and Roofing

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    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.

  2. Go Green…with a Garden Roof

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    Gardens and roofs. Have you ever thought of putting the two together? In current years, garden roofs have become extremely popular, especially in larger cities such as Chicago, and buildings have seen much value in them. Recently, there has been a lot of political support for garden roofs here in Chicago—due to the positive environmental benefits—and many of the larger buildings in downtown Chicago feature these garden roofs. As installers of these roofs, we understand the benefits and values of garden roofs, as well as the importance of having skilled contractors constructing these roofing systems on industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings.

    What are some of the benefits of having a garden on your roof? It’s a “green” initiative, meaning it has a positive environmental impact. Since the gardens help to protect the roof from the sun, the thermal impact on the roofing system is reduced and the roof’s viability is extended. Additionally, the garden roofs help to retain storm water, which is much needed when storms hit—the gardens hold onto the water longer, allowing the excess water to be put into the systems more slowly. The result? City sewer systems are impacted less by large storms.

    How do you make sure your building is a candidate for a garden roof? Typically, a garden should only be installed on a newer roofing system, and it should use light-weight materials, so that the load on the roofing structure is not severely impacted. The integrity of the roof is the most important factor. It is essential that you employ a skilled professional roofing contractor, as opposed to landscapers; roofing contractors know that the garden component is not the entire roof—they understand the various layers and logistics required in constructing these waterproof roofs.

    As roofing contractors in Chicago, we have installed a number of garden roofs throughout the city. For more information on garden roofing systems, see the CRCA’s video (we are mentioned at the end!).