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Tag Archive: roofs

  1. Energy Conservation Codes and Roofing: What You Need to Know

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    Most people know the important role that a roof serves to a home or building; it’s so much more than a simple covering. Of course the aesthetic appeal of a good roof adds immeasurable value, but beyond that, a good roof saves energy and money while making a building more efficient.

    What many people might not realize is that the energy efficiency of roofing is mandated by codes that require minimum thermal insulation levels. These codes are related to energy conservation and are increasing regularly. They vary individually by state and region, but follow the guidelines of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which is determined by the U.S. Department of Energy.

    The purpose of increasing them, of course, is for buildings to continue achieving greater levels of energy efficiency, which is beneficial for a number of reasons. The DOE’s goal is a 30% improvement in energy efficiency compared to the previous version.

    The IECC is updated every three years and the current edition in effect for our area is IECC 2012. For the Chicago area, the latest edition increased the R-value requirements—the thermal resistance value of insulation—fromR20 to R25.

    Essentially, this means that existing roofs being renovated, and roofs that are built in new construction, must adhere to the latest R25 requirement. This pertains to all buildings, with the exception of detached one- and two-family dwelling and townhouses.

    While the specific codes that are followed are determined by individual states and cities—with some cities currently on the 2012 edition — it’s important to not only note that you must follow your city’s current requirements (again, R25 for Chicago), but to remember that these codes change regularly and rapidly.

    As each edition aims to improve efficiency over the last, we can safely assume that newer editions will increase the R-value for our city once again. While we don’t yet know what it will be, we do know that it will most likely increase, and it is important for building owners, builders, and maintenance staff to remain aware and current.

    At Knickerbocker Roofing, we are always on top of the latest news, changes, rules, and regulations related to roofing. If you have any questions about the IECC codes—or anything else—feel free to contact us anytime.

  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!).