A couple years ago, the commercial roofing scene in Denver was shaken up by the city’s new Green Buildings Ordinance. This act, which applies to buildings with roofs of 25,000 square feet or more, aimed to make commercial buildings in the area more eco-friendly. Businesses can comply with the mandate in a variety of ways, such as by installing a cool roof, paying into the green roof program, or implementing more solar energy.
Since our Elite Roofing team has worked on many commercial roofing projects throughout the Denver metro area, we wanted to share how local businesses can comply with this regulation in their next roof replacement or new roof construction project. In fact, there are several green roofing options that provide benefits well beyond compliance alone. So today, we’re taking a look at commercial roofing solutions for Denver businesses looking to go green.
What makes a roof “green”?
There are two main factors that make a roof “green” in general: energy savings and sustainability of materials. Sustainability refers to the source of the materials used to build your roof as well as what happens to them afterward. Some materials are less wasteful and more environmentally friendly to manufacture than others, and certain materials can be recycled down the line while others cannot. The energy efficiency of your roof is determined by many attributes, including things like insulation and the color of your roof, the latter of which is a key component of the Green Buildings Ordinance. Even outside this context, however, commercial roofing projects in Denver are increasingly being carried out with an eye toward eco-friendliness as much as possible, either through energy savings or sustainable roofing materials.
What is a cool roof?
According to the Department of Energy, a cool roof is one that has been specifically designed to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. This reflection of heat has numerous benefits, energy savings chief among these, but also in the form of reducing the temperature of non-air conditioned spaces, extending the life of your roof, and even combatting the urban heat island effect.
Cool roofs are a major way to comply with the Green Buildings Ordinance as it’s a rather straightforward solution. Lighter colors reflect sunlight while dark colors absorb it, so a white roof tends to be much more energy efficient than a black roof (depending on the climate you live in). For many Denver businesses, green commercial roofing is as simple as opting for lighter roofing materials.
Common green commercial roofing materials for Denver businesses
Certain roofing materials are particularly conducive to cool roofs, as well as sustainability in general. Some of the most common are TPO membrane and metal.
Thermoplastic olefin (TPO)
TPO is one of a few membrane roofing options available, with EPDM being its primary competitor. What makes TPO a good option for businesses looking to make their roof a bit greener is that it’s very easy to make a cool roof out of TPO. While EPDM is typically dark gray or black by default, TPO is readily available in light colors, making it more reflective out of the box. In general, it’s more costly to make a cool roof out of EPDM as it will need to be coated with a reflective material in order to meet the appropriate standards.
Metal is another popular cool roof option. While it tends to be more expensive in the short term than TPO, metal roofs last a long time due to their high durability—an important consideration when it comes to commercial roofing in Denver due to the extreme weather in the area. Depending on the material, a metal roof may require a coating to fully meet Denver’s cool roof requirements, but it also has the added green benefit of being recyclable.
Of course, we can’t talk about green roofing without touching on one of the most eco-friendly (and literally green) options out there: a green roof. Green roofs are roofs covered in vegetation, such as grasses, shrubs, or even trees. While these roofs can be pricey to install, they tend to be the most sustainable roofing option by far. To name just a few benefits, these roofs can provide excellent energy savings and insulation, facilitate water drainage, and improve air quality. In addition, it shouldn’t be overlooked that green roofs are quite beautiful, an oasis within the concrete and glass desert. In all, business owners who install green roofs on their commercial buildings get much more than their money’s worth with these roofing systems.
Elite Roofing: Sustainable Commercial Roofing in Denver
Our team at Elite Roofing is committed to doing our part when it comes to sustainable roofing, and we’re ready to help with your next commercial roofing project. Whether your goal is compliance, energy savings, or helping the planet, we can work with you to come up with the right green commercial roofing solution for your business, whether you’re in Denver or anywhere across the front range. If you’re ready to go green, contact us today!