EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option

Commercial EPDM Single – Ply Roofing System – Part 3

For any new or re-roof application, a multitude of factors must be weighed to determine the most appropriate roof design for each building.

White EPDM

In use since the 1980s, white EPDM roofing membranes feature the same characteristics and benefits of black EPDM, yet provide a highly reflective solution to coated membranes and thermoplastics. With its high solar reflectance index value, the bi-laminate, white-on-black cured membrane can help achieve points in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, specifically section SS 7.2 regarding the heat island effect, which requires the membrane to have a SRI value of greater than 78 for low-slope roof systems.

As a rubber-based material, white EPDM roofing systems are more flexible than other membranes, allowing for year-round application. In cooler temperatures, fully adhered EPDM membranes remain pliable and easy to install, while other membranes tend to stiffen and can be often more difficult to install, particularly on irregular substrates and vertical walls, such as parapets.

White EPDM roofing membranes are ideal for UL- and FM-rated systems, while exceeding ASTM D-4637 standards. They are well suited for new construction and re-roofing applications, and they can be installed over steel, concrete, wood and other common deck types.

The durability of EPDM membranes results in long life expectancy ratings, including more than 23 years in covered applications, more than 26 years in exposed applications and an estimate of more than 50 years for ultimate service life.

Saving Energy

Although reflective roofing materials have inherent value in the fight to gain energy efficiencies, the issue is not simply black vs. white. For any new or re-roof application, a multitude of factors must be weighed to determine the most appropriate roof design for each building. Choosing the right roof for the right situation is most important. That means moving beyond roof surface color and focusing on the building’s entire roofing assembly, including decking, insulation and roof substrate.

Light-colored roofs can reflect sunlight and help reduce cooling costs, particularly in warm, southern climates. However, the energy required to heat a building is often a more significant factor in overall energy usage.

According the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, commercial buildings are a large and growing consumer of energy. They account for 18 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. In a typical office building, energy use accounts for 30 percent of operating costs, the largest single category of controllable costs.

The DOE’s ORNL also developed a Cool Roof Calculator that estimates cooling and heating savings for low-slope roof applications with non-black surfaces. A review of data available from the calculator indicates that among all 243 sites in its database, which includes cities within all 50 U.S. states, the Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico and eight Canadian provinces, only 35 (14 percent) have more cooling degree days (CDDs) than heating degree days (HDDs).

From cities like San Diego to Boston and Lubbock to Fargo, there are more HDDs than CDDs. As such, the need to reduce heating-related energy demands is much greater than air conditioning demands in many climate zones. Dark-colored roofing materials, such as black EPDM membranes, are often the most beneficial in such environments because they absorb solar radiation and transfer it into the building. By heating the building’s interior, less demand is placed on the heating system.

Through its Building Technologies Program, the DOE also publishes the Buildings Energy Data Book. Table 7.4 of the 2007 book outlines energy use intensity in various commercial building types, comparing heating and cooling as a percentage of total energy consumed. The average results show that heating accounts for 29 percent of the energy consumed within a building, while cooling totals a mere 6 percent. The statistics are even more compelling when broken into specific building segments, such as health care and educational facilities, which feature 55 percent to 10 percent and 33 percent to 5 percent heating-to-cooling ratios respectively.

This information reaffirms that reflective roofing should not be the only consideration when seeking to improve energy efficiencies for commercial buildings. It also points toward the need for more focus on reducing heating costs, and not merely lowering cooling costs.

Talk to a Minnesota commercial roofing contractor to find out if an EPDM roof system is the right choice for your building.

Source: arwmag.com
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One Response to “EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option”

  1. Commercial Roof Repair: How Durable Is Your Commercial Roofing System? Says:

    […] EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option « Stormdamagerepair… […]

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