Sustainability is big news – and governments, individuals and businesses across the globe are embracing the trend towards a lower carbon, lower waste and more efficient world.
New legislation and concerns about the environment and climate change are driving building owners to actively improve the performance, energy-efficiency and environmental credentials of their buildings. As they do, many are pleasantly finding that the most sustainable solutions are often the most cost-effective.
This is particularly true when it comes to the roof. In this post, we explore roof restoration and cool roof coatings as an alternative to replacement, and the many financial and wider sustainable benefits they offer.
Restoration vs Replacement – Clear Cost Benefits
Restoration completed using a silicone roof coating can add decades to the life of a roof at a fraction of the cost of full roof replacement. Projects can be completed in less time, with minimal disruption, and can be paid for using the maintenance budget.
In the current economic climate, for building owners looking to improve cash flow and reduce capex, replacement can deliver real, long-term value and cost benefits over the remaining lifecycle of the building.
Warranties of up to 20 years for GE Enduris™ Roof Coatings may be available when installed by an approved applicator.
Reducing Carbon Emissions - Less to Landfill
For those looking to reduce the carbon footprint of their building, the process of restoring a roof rather than replacing it delivers immediate benefits – as it significantly delays, and effectively reduces over time, the contribution of expended roofing materials to a landfill. It’s estimated that 40% of all CO2 emissions are being generated from waste in landfill sites.
Cool Roofing Explained
A cool roof is one that reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat than a conventional, dark colored roof.
There are a number of different ways this can be achieved – either through reflective tiles or shingles, sheet coverings or, most commonly, by applying a cool roof coating, such as GE Enduris™ Roof Coating.
Cool roof coatings are usually highly reflective and white in color (According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Heat Island Group, black surfaces in the sun can become up to 90° hotter than the most reflective white surfaces). Cool roof coatings can be applied to nearly any roof, including both new builds and existing buildings.
Cool Roof Coatings – The Benefits
By reflecting sunlight and thus allowing less conversion of light to heat, cool roof coatings help limit surface temperatures of the roof, which has a number of key benefits:
Applying a cool roof coating can make a real difference to the internal temperature and comfort of the building – reducing the need for air conditioning during the summer months.
The results can be significant – studies have shown that a cool roof can reduce energy used by air conditioning by 8–48 kWh/m2, the hours of discomfort by up to 100% and the maximum temperature by 2.2 to 6.7°F (1.2°C to 3.7° C), depending on the climate.
By enabling the limitation of energy consumption, a cool roof can result in significant energy cost savings as well. In addition, by further limiting strain on air conditioning systems, savings can also be realized via extended system working lifespan and reduced maintenance and replacement costs.
Strong UV light can cause significant damage to roofing substrates – reducing its performance and lifespan. A reflective roof coating can significantly reduce the harmful effects of UV exposure, which in turn can prolong the effective service life of these roofs, and help reduce maintenance and repair costs over time. As an added benefit, silicone coatings, via strong, inorganic chemical bonds within their structure, are inherently resistant to breakdown under UV light. As such, silicone coatings retain their flexibility and water resistance for the entire time they are in use.
Using less energy for cooling will also help to reduce the carbon footprint of a building. The effect can be huge.
Hashem Akbari, the Heat Island Group’s lead scientist and a professor of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering at Montreal’s Concordia University, calculated that if every building in every city in the world switched to a reflective roof, the difference would offset the emissions from the equivalent of 600 million cars.
Beyond the Roofline – Benefits for the Wider Environment
Restoring a roof using a low-VOC, cool roof solution such as GE Enduris™ roof coatings isn’t limited to improving only the environment inside a building; it can also deliver benefits to the wider environment.
According to the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), high-VOC architectural coatings are a large contributor to the smog levels found in and around cities such as Los Angeles. Using low-VOC silicone coatings can reduce these emissions and help improve air quality.
By reducing the overall temperature of a building, using a cool roof coating can also help to reduce the urban heat island effect (where cities are much warmer than rural areas), resulting in less energy use, fewer pollutants from power sources, and lower smog levels.
Cool Roofing – Regulations and Tax Breaks
Worldwide, we are seeing efficiency standards for buildings continue to tighten, whereas the installation of cool roofs can be an effective way for building owners to meet current and future energy saving standards.
In some parts of the USA, cool roof measures have already been incorporated in residential and commercial building codes, including California’s Title 24, The Chicago Energy Conservation Code, The City of Dallas Green Construction Ordinance and the New York City Building Code – with many other states likely to follow suit in the coming years.
Choosing a Cool Roof Solution – GE Enduris™ Roof Coatings
Choose GE Silicones Enduris™ Roof Coatings for your cool roof project, and benefit from a complete silicone coating system that can significantly extend your roof life expectancy, while helping you to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, your carbon footprint.
GE Enduris™ roof coatings offer one-coat application and primer-less adhesion to most substrates (including TPO), and protection of roofs from dramatic temperature extremes, daily UV exposure, and ponding water. The 100% silicone formula allows the coating to expand and contract with the roof, remaining stable, flexible, and resilient—from day one and for years to come.
That said, it is important to note that not all roofs qualify for this restoration process; it is only available for roof substrates that are in sound condition, so be sure to restore your roof before the sun and weather damage it beyond the possibility of a cool roof restoration.
Enduris is a trademark of Momentive Performance Materials Inc.
MRCA Roof Coatings Research – A Progress Report - The Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA)
Coatings for Commercial and Residential Roofing: The North American Market – May 2019, John Barret, BCC RESEARCH
Liquid-Applied Roof Coatings: United States – Nov 2017, Freedonia Focus Reports