Cool Roofs, Hot Savings: Navigating Energy-Efficient Commercial Roofing Options

Advice on finding a Great Roofing Contractor
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: December 6, 2023
  • Updated On: December 6, 2023

Take a look at your roof. Do you know how much energy it’s saving or costing you? If not, that might be your first place to start when considering improving its performance. For many building owners and managers, navigating the options for commercial roofing solutions can be difficult.

That’s especially true now with ever-changing trends, technologies, and regulations governing the industry. Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide to help cut through some of the confusion:

Popular Energy-Efficient Roofing Options

Several energy-efficient roofing options can help lower your utility bills. Here are some of the options to consider:

  • Metal roofing: Metal roofs are durable, cost-effective, and energy-efficient. They come in various styles and colors that match any building’s aesthetic. According to EngineeringCivil, They are pretty strong and can last 40 years. They can survive wind speeds of 140 mph.
  • Asphalt: An asphalt or composite shingle roof with an insulated underlayment can reduce your cooling costs significantly. This type of roof also helps prevent ice dams from forming during the winter months. This means you don’t have to worry about water damage inside your business.
  • Reflective roof shingles: Asphalt shingles with reflective granules or coatings can create cool roofs. These shingles are designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat.
  • Single-ply membranes: Materials like TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) are popular for single-ply cool roofing systems. They exhibit high solar reflectance and thermal emittance.

All these materials can help keep your commercial building’s interiors cool to ensure lower HVAC costs. However, Peak Builders & Roofers of San Diego states that it depends on how well the material is installed. Thus, the roofing service providers play a vital role. If the roof is established appropriately, it will ensure strength and longevity.

Hence, you should always consider hiring the right commercial roofing services. To begin with, the commercial roofing services provider should have appropriate and relevant experience. 

You must also read online reviews and testimonials of the service provider. It is also worth contacting the previous clients to understand how the service provider works. This will help you know whether the provider is the right fit for your needs.

Environmental and Sustainability Considerations

If you’re looking for a sustainable roofing option, there are two primary options to consider:

Green Roofs

Green roofs can be installed on top of existing buildings to increase insulation and reduce energy use. They also help mitigate urban heat islands by absorbing rainwater and releasing it slowly into the soil below. This reduces runoff during storms and prevents flooding.

The government leads in this aspect by setting an example for other businesses. According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), they now have around 80 buildings with green roofs. The green roofs at GSA buildings correspond to approximately 2.2 million square feet.

Solar Panels

Solar panels have become a popular alternative to traditional materials in recent years. According to YaleEnvironment360, almost 3.5% of commercial buildings in the US have solar panels on their roofs. Another 1% are associated with solar projects located some distance away. Almost 70% of commercial buildings in the US are probable sites for the installation of solar projects.

Here are several vital points highlighting their positive impact:

  • Renewable energy source: Solar panels harness energy from the sun, a virtually infinite and renewable resource. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy does not deplete over time, making it a sustainable choice for power generation.
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: Solar power generation produces less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional fossil fuels. Using solar panels helps decrease the reliance on fossil fuels, thus reducing air pollution and mitigating climate change.
  • Energy independence: Solar panels contribute to energy independence by diversifying the energy mix. This reduces dependence on fossil fuels, often subject to price volatility and geopolitical tensions. Countries and communities that invest in solar power can enhance their energy security.
  • Low environmental impact: The production and operation of solar panels have a relatively low environmental impact compared to other energy sources. With advancements in technology, the manufacturing processes of solar panels are becoming more energy-efficient, and recycling programs are being developed to address end-of-life issues.
  • Resource conservation: Solar energy production does not require consuming finite resources like coal, oil, or natural gas. By using solar panels, we can conserve these resources for future generations and reduce the environmental impact associated with their extraction and processing.

Challenges and Considerations

When it comes to commercial roofing, there are many challenges and considerations. The high initial cost of cool roofs is one of the biggest barriers to entry for many businesses. It can be challenging to justify spending money on a new roof when the old one works fine. This is especially true in more rural areas where few contractors specialize in cool roofs.

Another challenge is that there isn’t yet any standardization among different types of cool roofs. Each manufacturer’s product line may not work with another brand’s system. For example, metal panels will not attach securely to clay tiles.

Additionally, some products may be available only regionally due to limited availability from suppliers or distributorships within some geographic regions. Finally, warranties vary widely depending on the type of material used: some offer lifetime coverage. In contrast, others have limited terms ranging anywhere from five years down to zero years.

Future Trends and Innovations

There are many exciting developments in the commercial roofing industry. These include:

  • New materials and technologies, such as cool roofs, high-performance insulation, and reflective coatings, can help you save energy. A Frontiers Journal study shows that cool roofs can save energy costs by 13.2% compared to conventional ones. Separate studies have revealed that energy savings typically range between 15% to 35.7%. 
  • Improved installation methods make it easier to install these energy-efficient options on your commercial building. For example, some new products come pre-fabricated with clips or hooks that allow quick installation using ladders instead of scaffolding or cranes.
  • New technology for monitoring energy efficiency in real-time from inside your building. This can help identify problems before they occur so they can be addressed quickly and easily at minimal cost. It’s like having an expert right there with you all day long.

In conclusion, we hope you better understand the many options available for commercial roofing. From cool roofs to solar panels, there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money simultaneously. While these options may not be right for every business or industry, they are worth considering when making your building more sustainable.

Avatar photo
Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.