Talking about “energy efficiency” is a common marketing point for commercial rooftops. After all, what business wouldn’t like to save on energy bills when replacing a roof? But when it comes to the actual mechanics of how your building can save on heating and cooling, things can get a little vague. We’re not fans of that, so today, we’re going to take some time to talk about specific roofing materials and exactly how they’re energy-efficient.
TPO rooftops are made from single-ply thermoplastic materials. It’s very easy to install quickly, and it can be customized by choosing from a number of sizes and even installation options. However, thermoplastic materials have another benefit: They are smooth surfaces that are highly resistant to UV light from the sun and tend to be light-colored and reflective.
Does this actually matter when saving energy? Absolutely. Commercial rooftops are many square feet facing directly at the sun all day. Darker, non-reflective materials will absorb a lot of thermal energy from sunlight during that period – and there’s nowhere for this heat to go, so it tends to stay trapped in the building where the air conditioning system has to deal with it – and that’s what costs you money. Lower the energy absorbed by the roof, and over time it really can make a significant difference.
Built-Up Roofing Systems
This familiar rooftop is easy to identify on sight: It uses a number of layers of alternating reinforced fabrics and layers of tar-like bitumen (the layers can be adjusted based on the needs of the roof) and covered with a final layer of fine gravel. These rooftops are very affordable and reliable – and they can also be energy efficient.
Traditional top layers used pea gravel and similar material. But newer built-up roofing systems can also be painted with special reflective coatings. This allows the built-up roof to act much like the reflective TPO layer, redirecting sunlight back into the air before the heat can be passed into the building.
Modified Bitumen is made of rolls of flexible, asphalt-like material that can be quickly rolled out on a large roof for protection. It’s an easy-maintenance roof with surprisingly tough polymer materials and very water-resistant.
Asphalt and tar-like materials may not sound like the best way to reflect sunlight, and normally that’s true. However, modern modified bitumen rooftops can also come with a core layer of powerful insulation. While the roof may absorb sunlight, this insulating layer prevents it from traveling further inside and heating up the building itself, where the HVAC system has to deal with it. As a result, the durable roof layer takes care of the heat, and the cooling units don’t have to work as hard.
Would your business like even more specifics to work with when crunching the numbers on a new roof? Give us a call, and we can schedule an inspection to talk about your roofing options, how much money you could really save, and what a quote for a new roof would look like.