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Environmentally friendly roofing materials?

Environmentally friendly roofing materials? Which are the most friendly to our planet?

Assessing environmental impact accurately for any material or product is very difficult because of the huge number of variables. For example, a UK manufacture product is generally accepted as being more environmentally friendly than a foreign product because of the shorter transportation distance. However, if the UK product is manufactured with imported raw materials this may not be the case.

It is also the case that different manufacturers use different materials to manufacturer the same materials. It would be easy to say that all single ply membranes are environmentally disastrous because they are manufactured with PVC. However many are not, so as long as we take this into account as well, we can still make an environmental case for the use of single ply membranes.

In terms of environmental impact, it is less confusing and perhaps more reliable anyway to consider the following basic principles.

Disposal Of The Existing waterproofing:- The greatest impact may well be from the disposal of the existing waterproofing. Therefore one should carefully consider the necessity and benefits of stripping off the existing coverings; can they be left in place and incorporated into the new system?

Longevity:- if longer lasting roofing systems are used, the fewer number of times they will have to be replaced during the building’s life cycle and therefore the lower the impact will be on the environment. There is a double benefit here. Although longer lasting systems generally require a greater upfront cost, if this cost is divided by the system’s life expectancy (not the guarantee period – these are not the same) the cost per year will be arrived at. This is the real long term cost and don’t forget, it is protected from inflation, unlike the eventual renewal cost. Using this method you will find that longer lasting systems offer much better value for money.

Insulation:– roof replacement offers the opportunity to consider the thermal efficiency of the building. In fact, this is now a requirement under approved document L of the Building Regulations for England and Wales 2006. This is an environmental benefit which can be incorporated as part of any system.

Want more information on the Environmental impact of your commercial roofing needs, have a further read here.