High-Performance Roofing is part of a larger trend toward High-Performance Buildings – a hot topic among builders and managers involved in the construction and renovation of school systems, government buildings, and other facilities. The Department of Energy (DOE) has established a High Performance Building initiative that focuses on promoting energy-efficiency nationwide. DOE defines the benefits and objectives of High-Performance Buildings and “whole-building design” as:
- Energy consumption reductions of 50 percent or more
- Reduced maintenance and capital costs
- Reduced environmental impact
- Increased occupant comfort and health
- Increased employee productivity
High-Performance Roofing systems can contribute significantly toward all of these High-Performance Building objectives. As part of a High-Performance Building, an HPR system acts as a vital, performance-enhancing umbrella that protects the facility from the elements, enhances the performance of other building components, enables uninterrupted operations, and contributes to the health and performance of occupants.
A high performance building is a complete system made up of sub-systems including electrical, flooring, HVAC, roofing, doors, windows, insulation and many other components. Achieving high performance requires that all these elements work in harmony. This means that every part of the system must perform its own functions without negatively impacting the performance of any other part of the system. Ideally, at least some of the sub-systems should actually enhance the performance of other sub-systems. High performance buildings not only operate at optimal levels, but they minimize the negative effect on the local environment while maximizing the health and comfort of building occupants. Any weak link will cause sub-optimimal performance for the entire system.
Contrary to some popular myths, HPR systems that are cool and sustainable do not necessarily involve additional costs. In fact, one essential definition of a High-Performance Roofing system is that it reduces life-cycle costs (LCC) significantly without substantial tradeoffs in performance or longevity.
In our final installment we will discuss the Five E’s of High-Performance Roofing.