What Is Commercial Roofing?

Commercial roofing is a specific type that is installed on business buildings or industrial-sized buildings. Commercial roofing projects require more time, higher costs, and a larger crew of workers. Any business needing to replace their roof should always contact a professional roofing contractor who is capable of performing larger roofing projects such as these.

Commercial roofing should be left to the professionals who have the experience and skills to perform the work and should never be left in the hands of amateurs who are not used to working on tall buildings. If a mistake is made during a commercial roofing job, it may mean that the company will endure premature leaks so there is no room for even the smallest of errors when the roof is being installed.

Once a leak begins, even if it is tiny at first, it can create additional weaknesses in the roof. Every time it rains or there is a storm, the roof will continue to weaken until damage occurs to the offices inside the building from the wetness created by these heavy rains. Due to constant exposure to moisture, the smallest of leaks become larger and larger until you can no longer do any patching of these leaks.

When commercial roofing is due to be installed, it should be done on a day when there is no chance of rain so the work is completed as soon as the rains begin. There are different types of materials that can be used when installing a commercial roof. If you want roofing that is made from “green” or recycled material, then you should express this to the roofing contractor performing the work. You may prefer using rubber roofing or some other type instead of the standard shingle type of roof. If a commercial roof is flat, then you may need to use different materials in order to cover a larger area.

Commercial roofing can be extremely expensive so is very important to explore all of your options when considering your roofing needs. You can get the best value if you deal with a more reputable roofing contractor. Once you find the right contractor to do the work, he or she will be able to search for the best pricing on roofing materials and take the labor necessary to complete the job into consideration.

They will be able to tell you if there are weak boards or other structural items that can be placed once the roofing has been replaced. If the structure was weakened during long periods of exposure, it can result in moderate structural damage which weakens the roof and makes it more vulnerable to storms and other inclement weather conditions.

Commercial roofing is also an excellent tax deduction for businesses because it improves the structure of the building and increases the durability of the building as well. If you have any questions you can consult with an experienced roofing contractor to help you decide what you should and shouldn’t use on your roof.

Roofs – Build Green Or Go Solar?

Now you’re ready to build green. The questions begin- linoleum or bamboo flooring? Skylights or solar tubes…or both? And finally the roofing…green design offers so many alternatives sometimes it can be overwhelming. Today I would like to run through some of the competing benefits of a solar roof verses a living roof. This would seem to be fairly simple and straight forward but many factors are involved. For sake of argument let’s stick with the purely environmental benefits.  

-The idea with a solar roof is that the power you produce on your roof doesn’t have to be produced via petroleum, at a coal fired plant, or by some other harmful means somewhere.  

-The idea with a living roof is a little more nuanced- in that you are recovering the space for flora (carbon reduction) which has been displaced by your residence, improving your insulation, cooling your roof, all while mitigating the urban heat island effect.     

So which green design is actually more beneficial for the environment? Guess what- It is somewhat a matter of perception and is very involved if one is trying to quantify. It comes down to a complicated equation. (doesn’t it always?) 

First you have to figure out how much power your hypothetical solar roof will create over the course of it’s lifetime. Then you consider how many emissions would be produced if that power was created via conventional means. This is how many emissions aren’t being created because you aren’t consuming the power that would have necessitated their creation. However the energy expended in the production and disposal (or recycling) of solar panels (and their batteries) creates it’s own set of emissions and pollution which must be subtracted from that original total-emissions-avoided number. So what your left with is the total amount of carbon emissions which aren’t being created due to the total lifespan of your solar panels. This emission reduction is the environmental benefit of your hypothetical solar roof. (There are geopolitical and personal benefits as well but they are beyond the scope of this article)

On the green roofs side you must calculate the entirety of carbon emissions and pollution which are being breathed and processed by your rooftop plants in the course of your roofs 40 to 80 year lifespan and ad to that the carbon emissions avoided from the energy savings reaped from your enhanced insulation and roof cooling benefits. The complexity of variables such as plant type and energy-use-avoided go on and on. That’s why I pose the conclusion that it simply isn’t generally feasible to quantify/compare the ‘exact benefit’ of these two alternatives because there are so many ancillary factors involved. There are a few definite things to consider though when making your choice;

  •  A living roof is going to be beneficial in an urban setting in the sense that it provides a place for plants where there is none. This is also where the “urban heat island” exists. (not to mention storm water mitigation, and air quality improvement)
  •  Foot per foot over equal time periods the emission reduction/avoidance is probably greater from a solar roof when you consider how that energy might otherwise be produced in the current social environment. (see next bullet) On the other hand theoretically this energy can also be produced elsewhere or by other renewable means whereas the flora that is able to grow on a living roof in a city would otherwise have nowhere else to grow in that urban area.
  • So many little factors are involved. Before you build green you really need to consider how optimal your location is for either or both. If your in a sunny rural area (with high energy prices) solar may be the way to go. If your in a predominantly cloudy urban setting then your a great candidate for certain living roofs. One thing to consider is that if your just going to be using much of that solar energy on extra power for air conditioning or heating, then a living roof might be just as good in terms of ‘cutting out the middle man’ and naturally keeping your house a little cooler, and/or better insulated.

So in reality the world of green design is not so cut and dry. Solar roofs have the added benefit of directly producing energy- living roofs don’t carry all the industrial baggage and both will play a big role in transforming the world into a better more sustainable place to exist.

Green Acres is the Place to Be (Your Guide to Purchasing a Green-Built Home)

For today’s sophisticated homebuyers, things like clawfoot tubs, pedestal sinks, beadboard trim and wide rocking chair porches are the coolest. There’s just something about the character of houses built almost a century ago that draws people to them like magnets. As for the day-to-day maintenance of those homes, however, only 21st century state-of-the-art will do, thank you. Most want a home that looks charming, but that also functions well – where they can live comfortably, aesthetically and affordably and, where they can live – well, ‘green’.

Increasing interest and demand for green living has been fueled by economic and environmental concerns. But how do we evaluate eco-friendly design? Green building is still relatively new, and the majority don’t know how it can positively affect their lives or their homes. Nearly everyone wants a green home, but few know the first thing about how to find and evaluate one. That is until now.

First it is important to note that a green-built home is built like every other home. The difference is that the builder has taken extra precaution to use sustainable materials and techniques that improve the air quality inside of the home and that reduce the amount of energy required to operate the home. The builder also takes steps to ensure that the home contributes positively to the outdoors environment.

Arts and Crafts

Atlanta’s artsy Reynoldstown neighborhood is home to an eclectic mix of Bungalows, Shotguns, Craftsman Cottages, Lofts and Moderns, Reynoldstown now boasts a growing population of certified green homes as new construction replaces some of the older inventory.

Bungalows are so interesting and you can have loads of fun with them. The Art Deco movement inspired bold colors and inventive design like tall baseboards, tall doors, decorative molding and picture perfect baths. In fact, the Bungalow’s inherent design makes it naturally suited for green building. Let’s take a walk through a typical energy efficient construction and identify the features we should look for when shopping for a green-built home.

Size Matters

One of the best ways to reduce a home’s energy consumption is to reduce its size. So, one simple thing you can do, if you want to live greener is to look for a smaller house. Just think about it – smaller homes use less of everything. If enough thought is put into a home’s planning and design, then a smaller home can look and feel more spacious than it actually is. And sure, you get a little less space. But you gain that back in efficient use of each room, utility savings, comfort, charm and aesthetic appeal.

Healthy Air in There

All open air spaces from the tiniest to the obvious should be sealed, as even the tiniest of air leaks can cause more damage than you know. Sealing areas like windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, attics, floors, walls, light fixtures and outlets will tighten the building envelope, reduce energy consumption and keep out the bad air. More importantly, it keeps out the bugs. The ladies of the home will appreciate that.

Be wary, if you walk into a house and see wall-to-wall carpeting, as carpet tends to trap dust mites. If a house has carpeting installed, it does not necessarily mean it is not a green-built house, because builders have a right to choose which green features to incorporate into their design. There are different levels of green building. Just remember that if a home has carpeting, you are going to have more dust to contend with and that will likewise reduce the air quality inside of your home.

Though it won’t be obvious to the eye, you should always ask what type of paint was used on the walls. You want a non-toxic paint where no chemicals were used. Paint made with no volatile organic compounds (no VOC) or low VOC works best.

Another feature that will improve a home’s air quality and create a healthier living environment is having a detached garage. People don’t realize that by purchasing a home with a garage that is detached from the house, you avoid possible exhaust emissions that can enter the home from the garage and contaminate the air you breathe in your home.

One of the most impressive green features a home can have is a product called Techshield, which looks like an ordinary piece of plywood with aluminum foil on one side. This plywood is called OSB board, which is an engineered wood panel. The aluminum side provides a radiant barrier which is laid along the roof line. It is designed to reflect the sun’s warmth and thereby reduces the amount of natural sun heat entering the home. It will certainly keep the living areas cooler and the HVAC costs lower, and should save the homeowner hundreds of dollars in Atlanta’s sweltering summers.

In fact, you may not need to turn the air conditioning on at all during some of the summer days. That’s how good it is. On a performance scale, it definitely gets an A+ and a letter of referral.

Buyers hoping to invest in a green home should also look for things like a wood burning fireplace which can be used to cost-effectively heat the home during the winter months. Other basic items which will help you operate your home more efficiently are ceiling fans, compact fluorescent lights, low flow faucets and shower heads, low flush toilets, programmable thermostats, insulation on pipes leading to the hot water heater (or a tankless water heater), a heat pump or other high efficiency system, higher than normal insulation in the attic and laundry room, as well as in the ceiling, floor and wall cavities, and low E windows and doors.

Also, be sure to ask what the home’s HERS Rating is. HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System. It is determined after an analysis of the home’s construction plans and on-site inspections, and after tests for leakiness in the ducts and leakiness in the home are conducted. Each point below 100 scored by the home corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption. A HERS rating of 76 means the house is 24% more efficient than the standard HERS reference home.

Exterior Green Benefits

Living green means choosing a healthier lifestyle. That means the eco-friendly benefits of your home do not stop at the back door. They carry on outdoors. If a home is Intown, and close to a variety of amenities – libraries, parks and other entertainment – and it has the advantage of easy access to the expressway and all parts of the city – and if it’s walk-friendly – close to dining and public transit – then the home provides extra green benefits. Exterior green points are awarded, because it saves the homeowner the cost of gas and reduces environmental emissions. The more places you can walk to from your home, the better.

Use It Again

If the yard has a smaller footprint than what you would typically find, there is less grass to cut and less water needed to make the landscaping thrive. By recycling leftover materials on site during the construction process, the home reduces waste, enriches the soil and sends a lot less to the landfills.

Take Our Word For It

All green homes will not contain each and every one of these items. As mentioned earlier, builders have the right to choose which green items they will incorporate into a home’s design. But if a home is truly green, it will contain a good number of these items. Some homes will even contain much more extensive greening like solar panels, geothermal energy, and even green rooftops. There are many more green features to choose from depending on how far up the green tree (and money tree) you want to travel.

Any home constructed according to Energy Star guidelines and certified by independent third party inspection and testing programs like Earthcraft House or LEEDS will provide the homeowner with immediate savings. Reduced energy bills and water savings are a doubly attractive benefit for home buyers in today’s economy.

If you are not certain whether or not a home meets the official green test, be sure to ask to see the stamp of approval from a third party certification program like EARTHCRAFT House or LEEDS. They have already done the work for you and determined that the home in question is certified green.

The next time you go looking at homes, take this checklist with you. If you are lucky enough to find a place that attracts your eye and fits your needs, and it also happens to be green built, snatch it up and be proud to call it ‘home’. As an extra bonus, you will enjoy substantial energy and utility savings and will also enjoy a healthier daily living environment. Be prepared to pay a little bit extra up front for your green home. There are some added costs involved in making a home energy efficient. But those costs are mitigated by utility savings, energy tax credits, and fewer visits to the doctor. In the long run – you win!