How Clean Energy and Roofing Are Finally Coming Together

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With the continuance of government incentives, rebates and tax credits, many commercial building owners are considering all of their options to save energy costs. With greater options other than just installing photovoltaic systems on rooftops, many commercial property owners are making the most out of all of the available opportunities. Now there is a wide assortment of solutions that can be utilized to provide potential energy savings for the business. Most are financially feasible and can be installed on almost any existing roof, no matter what the condition.

Not every system or every commercial property is an ideal candidate for an installed photovoltaic (PV) system. However, now there are significant solutions that can be integrated on nearly every rooftop that have proven to minimize energy costs. These include solar shingles, attic insulation, roof vents and solar reflective shingles. Other solutions include sun lighting (think skylights) and attic fans as a way to take advantage of the natural renewable resources available on the rooftop.

Lowering Roof Temperatures and Utility Bills

Cool roofs have been shown to dramatically reduce the summer temperature of the roof’s surface from 170°F down to something far more ambient. Not only does this protect the roofing materials over time, but a cool roof can dramatically drop the temperature of the interior ceiling by as much is 15°F. Just by applying a simple roof coating, the business can experience long-term performance and lower utility bills. For businesses that incorporate air-conditioning in the interior space, the potential for saving on utility bills every month can be impressive.

Combining R-20 fiberglass insulation with a cool roofing system can reduce heat radiation by as much as 20%. With nanotechnology, infrared and UV particulates can be incorporated in the production of asphalt shingles to provide solar reflective properties of upwards of 35% and more.

Selecting the Optimal Roof System

Roof systems are not a one-size-fits-all solution for keeping the elements out of the interior of the structure. Large condominiums will have different roofing requirements than a single-family home. Large facilities that can incorporate natural sunlight into the interior will have different requirements than a big building that is used as a warehouse for storing cold items. The best way to select the optimal roof system for any building is to understand the functions that happen in the structure’s interior.

Installing a PV System

If a business is interested in installing a PV (photovoltaic) system, it is imperative to understand the roof will remain reliable and weatherproof even after the installation. Other factors to consider are the weight load required for the system, along with drainage of the roof and its age. The temperature of the roof surface year-round will also have to be considered along with its orientation to maximize exposure to the sun. Rooftop traffic could also be a consideration along with any requirement by the manufacturer that could void the warranty if not followed.

Utilizing renewable energy and making a building more energy efficient is crucial for the future of any business. Being able to hedge against the constant rising of energy costs can help increase profits and work to stabilize the business. From a purely practical business standpoint, turning the top floor (the roof) into a moneymaking factory by generating its own electricity is an effective way of creating untapped income.

Companies that have thought the process out, and developed a detailed plan, have proven to be successful at getting paid back for installing a photovoltaic system on the business structure. Once the PV system is installed, it will continually generate electricity with only a minimal need of simple maintenance, at virtually no future cost to the company.