Reduce Energy: How Your Roof Can Help Meet Sustainability Goals

April 21, 2014

Right-sizing your roofing system’s insulation and adding skylights can dramatically reduce a facility’s energy consumption, which lowers costs, reduces the building’s impact on the environment, and shrinks the carbon footprint.

If your insulation isn’t performing as intended, heat is escaping in winter and entering in summer, making HVAC systems work harder to compensate. The thermal efficiency of wet insulation is severely diminished, so when leaks are repaired, attention must be paid to more than just the surface of the roofing membrane. Expect to be alerted during your annual roof inspection if crushed or wet insulation is compromising thermal performance.

When embarking on a new roofing project, it’s critical to obtain an estimate of annual energy usage costs related to insulation levels of various roof system assemblies. An informed decision, involves more than compliance with ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2013 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, the benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the United States. A professional roofing contractor can employ tools like the National Roofing Contractors Association’s EnergyWise Roofing Calculator to help you evaluate virtual roof assemblies for thermal efficiency, and the associated estimated heating and cooling cost reductions resulting from each approach.

Install Daylighting Skylights

Lighting is the second largest consumer of electricity in commercial facilities behind HVAC system. Daylighting skylights can be added to the roof to reduce the amount of artificial light required inside the building.

Careful analysis should be undertaken to determine an optimum daylighting skylight strategy to maximize efficiency and/or increase illumination levels. Qualified professionals can provide you with a plan that includes estimated annual energy savings in kilowatt hours (kWh) per year as well as a prediction of annual savings based on your utility rates.

This is the third blog article in D. C. Taylor Co.’s four-part series on how (and why) to include your roof in environmental initiatives.

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