Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Roofing System: Environmental Impact Part A

You must consider many factors when your roof needs to be replaced or when you are constructing a building that requires a new roof. Reviewing these factors will help you to make the wisest roofing choice and get the best long-term value for your investment.

There’s a lot to cover in a discussion of the environmental issues surrounding roofing selections, so we’re dividing it up into two posts.

Environmental Impact – Part A

Today’s society calls for more products that are environmentally-friendly, and that drive extends to commercial construction products, including roofing systems. Several factors have a bearing on a system’s environmental impact.

When researching roofing systems, investigate the materials that are used in their production. During the past several years, PVC building materials have been scrutinized perhaps more than any other, largely due to production issues that date back more than 30 years. In fact, a recent USGBC report indicated that on the whole, PVC is as benign as other construction products, and in some cases may be the most environmentally-friendly option.

Many PVC single-ply membranes are also lightweight and can often be installed over existing roofing systems, eliminating costly and landfilling tear-offs and requiring less fuel to transport to the job site than other heavier materials.

Some roofing systems benefit not only the external environment, but the internal environment as well, contributing to better indoor air quality and occupant comfort. With optimized insulation and venting, some systems can also relieve positive air pressure to keep indoor air cleaner.

When researching roofing systems, learn what happens to manufacturing scrap as well as the system itself after the end of its useful life. Some roofing manufacturers recycle scrap into other commercial products like flooring, expansion joints, walkpads, etc. Furthermore, manufacturers like Duro-Last® have implemented recycling programs for PVC roof membranes after their useful roofing lives. Such programs keep waste out of landfills and reduce the need for virgin feedstock used in a number of construction products, including new roofing membranes.

In our next installment of Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Roofing System, we will discuss the energy aspects of roofing: reflectivity, emissivity, and the solar reflectance index.