Reduce/Reuse: How Your Roof Can Help Meet Sustainability Goals

April 3, 2014

It may seem impossible to reach sustainability goals but your roof can help. What follows is the first in a four-part series on how (and why) to evaluate your roof as part of environmental initiatives.

Recycle Tear-Off

When you’re undertaking a reroofing project, consider recycling the construction and demolition waste. Recycling tear-off materials can aid companies aiming to reduce landfill waste. “An experienced roofing contractor can help put together a plan to identify which materials qualify,” says Todd M. Kaska, Senior Vice President Technical Services, D. C. Taylor Co. “They will also be able to source organizations that can recycle, reuse, or salvage materials such as metal, roofing membrane, insulation, concrete, and stone ballast.” Roof system manufacturers, in conjunction with roofing contractors, have proven that reclamation is possible.

Restore an Older Roof

Another way to prevent landfill waste is to restore the existing roof by extending its life with a coating. “Reasons for coating include extending the life of the existing roof, updating the roof to Title 24 compliance in California, and to save energy by having a roof with higher reflectivity,” explains Raymundo Jimenez, Project Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Concord, CA.

This solution provides both environmental and economic benefits. Coating can cost 25-percent less than a reroofing project requiring full tear-off and it extends the life of the system by up to 25 years. A white coating on a previously black roof, will also absorb less heat and reduce demand on HVAC systems. Additionally, it reduces building expansion and contraction, thereby limiting the amount of movement of building materials, reducing stress and increasing the roof’s useful life.

Most roof systems (single-ply, built-up, metal, foam, and modified bitumen) can be coated. Eligibility for coating is determined by the condition of the exiting roof, its location, slope, presence of ponding water, and exposure to chemicals, high heat, and UV. “The application varies depending on the number of gallons per square and the type of roof and warranty,” says Jimenez. The proper evaluation and diagnosis is critical in determining what coating application will meet the roof system’s performance requirements.

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