There are many great ways to increase energy efficiency for commercial buildings. Insulation, automated thermostats, and high-efficiency appliances are just a few examples.
However, did you know that the roof of a commercial building is a significant factor that can drastically change how much energy is consumed throughout the course of a given year? It’s true, and the Denver roofing professionals at A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors have first-hand experience upgrading commercial roofs with the expressed purpose of driving down heating and cooling costs.
This winds up being a massive benefit that tenants absolutely love, because it immediately makes their operating costs far more manageable. Every business owner wants to run a more profitable enterprise, and having reduced energy costs is one strategy that simply works, every time.
How Do Energy Star-Rated Commercial Roofs Save Money?
Let’s explore the question of exactly how a roof can have such a huge impact on energy use.
When sunlight comes into contact with any surface—whether that surface is your skin, a sidewalk, or a commercial rooftop—a small fraction of the sunlight is reflected. In the case of commercial roofing materials, The US Government’s Energy Star program defines this as Initial Solar Reflectance and Maintenance of Solar Reflectance.
A few physics facts might help to understand this better:
- Any surface that reflects more of the sun’s radiation is going to absorb less heat.
- Lighter-colored and highly reflective surfaces (i.e., white or beige) are going to stay cooler, longer.
- Commercial roofing materials that are designed to reflect solar radiation using reflective, lighter-colored materials will reduce the amount of heat transferred to the indoor air volume.
If we wanted to reflect as much of the sun’s light as possible, businesses would install flat mirrors on their rooftops. However, this isn’t feasible for numerous reasons (cost, FAA regulations, building codes, etc.).
Instead, the roofing materials industry has produced outstanding commercial roofing systems that integrate highly reflective substances that do a fantastic job of keeping roofs cooler. But, not all of these products are efficient enough to earn the endorsement of the Energy Star program.
Energy Star Requirements for Commercial Roofing Products
In order to qualify for an Energy Star rating, a commercial roofing product must be able to reflect at least .65% of the sun’s radiation at the time of installation. This is the Initial Solar Reflectance criteria mentioned above.
Then, after three years, it must be demonstrated that the same material will continue to reflect at least .50% of the sun’s radiation. This is the Maintenance of Solar Reflectance criteria.
Remember that it’s a lot more expensive to manufacture a highly reflective roofing product compared with more conventional materials. So, roofing materials manufacturers need to be able to strike a balance between keeping their own costs low and providing adequate reflectance for the products they produce.
A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors has partnered with some of the most reputable suppliers of high-quality, Energy Star-rated commercial roofing materials, including:
- CertainTeed. Their proprietary coating technology is available on more than a dozen different Built-Up Roof (BUR), Styrene Butadiene Styrene (SBS), and Atactic Polypropylene (APP) modified bitumen membranes.
- DuroLast. DuroLast’s “Cool Zone” industrial roofing system both reflects and protects, which is the ideal combination for most commercial roofs in Colorado.
- Mule Hide. The TPO commercial roofing system from Mule Hide offers enhanced energy efficiency along with easy installation, a longer life cycle, thicker top-ply construction, and enhanced repairability.
Not every commercial roofing system is going to suit every building in Colorado. Some roof pitches don’t qualify for certain roofing solutions, so it’s important to have a trained roofing technician advise you of your options.
How Much Could Your Tenants Save? Contact Us to Learn More
We realize many of our customers want to see the numbers. They want to know exactly how much—in dollars and cents—their tenants could save every month by operating their businesses in a commercial building with an Energy Star-rated roof.
We can help. Contact us today, share some details with us about your commercial building, and we’ll run the numbers to help you understand what a realistic energy savings expectation would be for your situation.
Remember that an investment in an Energy Star-rated roof isn’t just good news for your tenants. It’s great news for the environment, too!