As summer rolls into place, it’s a good time to consider the benefits of cool, sustainable roofing systems made from PVC membranes. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at reflectivity as well as a few other attributes that make PVC a good, green construction choice.
On hot summer days, the temperature on dark surfaces – including asphalt parking lots and roofs – can reach 180 degrees or higher, straining HVAC units and increasing energy use. A highly-reflective PVC roofing membrane can dramatically reduce roof surface temperatures, lowering cooling costs and keeping non-conditioned space more comfortable and productive for workers. A reflective roof can also help lessen the urban heat island effect.
PVC is inherently recyclable – perhaps more so than any other building material. PVC roof recycling is well-established in Europe, and growing in the United States. Roofing manufacturer Duro-Last®, Inc. has a program for roofing contractors to return “used” PVC roofing systems to Duro-Last for recycling into commercial flooring and other construction materials. This production is done by Duro-Last’s sister company, Oscoda Plastics®, Inc. In recent years, Oscoda Plastics has annually recycled over 6,000 tons of roof membrane and post-consumer PVC scrap. Here’s a brief video that shows this process in action:
During the last 35 years, multiple scientific studies have confirmed that vinyl production and handling in the United States is very safe, and that finished vinyl products, including PVC membranes, pose no risk to human health. Among other environmental applications, landfill liners made from PVC help prevent contaminants from leaching into groundwater. When considering building sustainability, PVC roofing systems have a decidedly positive impact on the environment.
More Rooftop Sustainability Options
The growing awareness of building sustainability issues in recent years has driven an interest in rooftop garden, solar, and paver systems. Any of these “covered roof assemblies” require a traditional commercial roofing system underneath them to keep the building watertight. Once the solar, garden or paver system is installed, access to the roof surface will be limited and repairs will be difficult, so it will be critical to have an underlying roof membrane installation that you can depend on. PVC roofing is ideal to install, because of its proven ability in all weather conditions and because it has been used successfully for all of these covered roof applications.
Pick the Right Contractor
Regardless of your motivation for installing a sustainable roofing system, the most important factor is the roofing contractor. Royalty is proud to be an authorized Platinum Contractor for Duro-Last. Platinum status – awarded based on the volume of square footage installed and consistently high quality installation scores – has been achieved by fewer than 2% of authorized Duro-Last contractors. If you’re considering roofing options for your commercial facility, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs with you.