With global warming on the rise and the effects of climate change appearing more present in our daily lives, sustainable roofing has become a hot topic in the industrial world, from the United States to Europe and beyond. New York City is blazing trails for other cities with some of the largest green roofs in the nation. Stuttgart is known internationally as the “Green Roof Capital of Europe.” The NU-Paris is the world’s largest urban rooftop farm. In Singapore, it’s not uncommon to see “Gardens on the Move,” or greenery atop the local buses.
While the altruistic fight against global warming and climate change has inherent moral and ethical value, does green roofing offer any economic benefit to business owners? The short answer is yes: your commercial roofing choice can be both sustainable and economical in these five ways.
Save Money on Heating & Cooling
Did you know that roofs can support plant life? Incorporating native plantings into your roofing system serves several environmental and financial benefits. First, it reduces the degree to which natural habitats are displaced due to construction, providing a nesting area for birds and resources for pollinators. Second, rooftop vegetation absorbs rainwater, which not only minimizes the strain on municipal stormwater runoff systems but also relieves your building’s drainage systems and prevents flooding on your property.
Most notably, rooftop greenery can significantly decrease your building’s energy usage. Plants absorb sunlight and heat in the summertime and provide insulation in the winter. As a result, your building stays at least 10 degrees cooler in the summer or warmer in the winter. The reduced demand on your HVAC system means high savings on both energy usage and HVAC repairs or replacement.
Solar Roofs Provide Energy
Roofing with excellent insulation and reflectivity is ideal for reducing the amount of energy required to heat or cool a building. On the other hand, some types of sustainable roofs generate energy, too. Solar panels are especially popular for this purpose. When properly installed, solar roofing can energize at least half the building’s lighting needs or provide additional electricity for other uses.
Tax Incentives & Rebates
Sustainable roofing doesn’t just save money or generate energy to lower your regular utility bills. It can also provide a fat paycheck in the form of tax credits and rebates, depending on your location. On top of the U.S. federal government’s tax credits for energy-efficient building features, cities like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia offer reimbursements, tax incentives and grants for green roofing. Check with your municipal and county governments to find out if your area offers any such benefits.
Perhaps a common misconception, business is not just about money but about relationships first and foremost. How do your customers feel about your brand? Going green can be a critical step in aligning your business with forward-thinking values that garner broad public appeal. Improving your public image shouldn’t be the only reason to choose sustainable roofing, however. Vegetables and fruits grown on “edible” green rooftops are an opportunity to give back to your community in a uniquely charitable way.
Longer Roof Lifespan
Sustainable roofing is at the forefront of technological development. As such, the standards of quality, durability and functionality are guaranteed to be high. A brand new sustainable roof is therefore less likely to experience water leakage, insulation damage, mold growth and other forms of severe damage for much longer. In turn, this contributes to your building’s overall health and longevity. Fewer building repairs and roofing replacements over time is money well-saved.
A sustainable roof can take many forms. “Green” roofs made of shrubbery and vegetation keep heating and cooling costs down while generating a unique source of food. “Black” solar-paneled roofs produce energy and therefore minimize energy usage costs. “Blue” roofing captures stormwater runoff, reducing the risk of flooding and overwhelming municipal drainage and sewer systems.
As the technology develops and becomes better understood, the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable commercial roofing only seem to grow. As a result, the investment in your planet’s future through your commercial roofing choices goes hand-in-hand with your business’s financial success and longevity.