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Top 5 Green Roofing Options for Commercial Properties

Last Updated: October 27, 2023

Top 5 Green Roofing Options for Commercial Properties

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Green roofing options are taking the world by storm! When it’s time to install new roofing on a commercial building, several factors come into play. You’ll want to save money, get the job done quickly, and end up with a roof that is durable and will last a long time.

These priorities are crucial, but they leave out one important consideration. The larger the building, the more impact it will have on the environment, both in terms of materials usage and long-term energy use. Fortunately, there are several roofing options that are friendly to the environment and can save you money.

Why Should Commercial Properties Consider Green Roofing Options?

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that commercial buildings use on average 22.5 kilowatt hours per square foot, with most consumed for refrigeration, equipment, lighting, and cooling. Reducing this energy usage can save you a significant amount of money.

There are also gains for the wider community. Large buildings contribute to what is termed the urban heat island effect, with cities running at higher average temperatures than surrounding rural and suburban areas.

A big contributor to this increase in temperature comes from what lies at the top—the building’s roof. Conventional roofs made of dry, impervious, and dark material accumulates heat and traps it for long periods of time. Typical roofs have low solar reflectance and no cooling mechanism. The heat radiates to the building, warming it up without anything to lower the temperature or dissipate the heat.

Top 5 Green Roofing Options for Commercial Properties

Fortunately, there are new roofing materials, reflective solar solutions, and even vegetative roofs that can cool things down and save you money. They’re easier to incorporate into new builds, but can be added when you’re reroofing your building.

An infographic detailing top 5 green roofing options for commercial properties
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1. Solar Reflective Roofs

Solar panel and roofing material serve two purposes. First, they cut down on energy use by generating electricity. Solar panels have a relatively long-life span and then generate power for free once installed.

Innovative solar roofing materials add in reflective functionality. They include solar reflective shingles and solar reflective roofing membranes.

These reflect infrared (IR) radiation better than typical roof surfaces, keeping heat from entering the building and reducing HVAC usage. Since heat from the sun is one of the main drivers of roof degradation, these materials also help your roof last longer.

2. Recycled Roofing Materials

Manufacturing roof products has a big environmental cost. Mining, production, and transportation of new roofing supplies releases emissions, increases pollution, uses harsh chemicals, and uses up raw materials that could become scarce in the future.

In addition, there is a growing problem with sending asphalt shingle tear off waste to landfills. The EPA estimates that more than 11 million tons of waste shingles are generated each year in the United States. These materials could be recycled instead.

There are several recycled roof materials options, from plastic and rubber shingles to wood fiber and metal roof panels. These are durable and have long life spans, so less waste goes to landfills each time a roof is replaced.

3. White Roofs

White roofs, or cool roofs, are a way to increase reflection of the sun’s heat and light in warm locations. Just as wearing light-colored clothing can keep you cool on a bright day, a cool roof reflects lots of heat. In warmer climates, using white roofing material can dramatically cut down on the building’s heat build-up, reducing the need for more energy use to cool the interior.

White roofing products reflect about 60 to 90% of the sunlight that hits it, so there can be a significant impact in the building’s temperature. To create a white roof, installers use materials made from TPO or PVC.

They can also treat the roof with a reflective white coating. All types of roofing materials can be coated or manufactured as white or light-colored products, including asphalt shingles, polymer shingles, concrete tiles, and metal panels.

4. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing

SPF roofing can be a good option for some commercial buildings. It is typically added to an existing roof and is rarely used in initial roofing installations. It starts in liquid form and is sprayed across the building’s roof surface. There, it expands into a solid foam.

This creates a seamless and watertight barrier, reducing the risk of leaks and water infiltration. Its main benefit comes from its insulating power. It keeps heat out of the building and helps keep the interior temperature stable.

5. Green Vegetated Living Roofs

Is it possible for a commercial building to include a large garden? In fact, it is not only possible, but that garden can even be quite large. An exciting innovation in eco-friendly roofing is green roofs covered in plants. If the roof on the building is flat, it can be ballasted and covered with a waterproof membrane. Growing medium like soil is then added on top.

With enough depth and irrigation, just about any plant, even trees, can grow in a living roof garden. Succulents, sedums, moss, grasses, and flowering perennials are good choices. Some vegetated roofs even include edible fruit and vegetable plants.

A green roof gives the building a pleasant spot for workers and visitors to enjoy. But the benefits are more than just aesthetic. They reduce stormwater flow by up to 65%, and cut heat flux to the interior by up to 72%. The U.S. General Services Administration estimates that a green roof on a commercial building provides an energy cost payback in about 6.2 years, making it a cost-effective solution as well.

Green Roofing Options Will Save Money and the Environment

Environmental concerns are a top priority for many in the construction and roofing industries. As more companies adopt sustainable practices, the quest for green roofing materials is trending upward. Businesses are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint while still relying on durable roofing options.

Let Us Partner with You to Install a Green Roof on Your Building

When you’re ready to install an eco-friendly roof, give Discount Dumpster a call. We’re here to assist you every step of the way. We have lots of experience in all types of waste disposal and have a large inventory of dumpsters ready for fast delivery. Our low prices will save you money on your green roofing project.

Call us today to get expert advice and a free quote!

Call to Get Your Roofing Project Started! - (888) 316-7010

About Monica Mayhak

I am an expert content writer with a depth of experience in the waste management and dumpster industry, with over 25 years of experience writing about construction, home improvement, property management, and education topics. As lead research writer for Discount Dumpster, I have expanded my knowledge and understanding of waste management, construction, and environmental issues over the past several years.

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