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An Energy-Efficient Flat Roof

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Whether you are concerned with using less energy to save the environment or simply to save money, you should make sure that your commercial building is designed in an energy efficient fashion. To this end, you should consider heat gain as your enemy, for the hotter your building gets, the harder your AC equipment has to work to cool it back down. And where does most heat enter your building, through your roof by way of your roofing material. Thus, by choosing an energy-efficient roofing material, you can prevent heat gain and save yourself a lot of money on cooling costs. 

Problems with Asphalt Roofing

The most common roofing material for a flat roof is built up asphalt roofing, which is made from alternating layers of felt paper and asphalt tar. While this method of roofing will create a watertight roof, it will absorb a lot of heat. The main problem is the color of the tar—black. The color black absorbs more of the sun's energy than any other color. And what energy asphalt tar absorbs, it converts to heat, which can then travel through your roof deck and into your building. 

Is Color Really that Important?

You might think so what if the roof heats up, insulation will prevent heat from entering my building.   Not so. Studies show that using white roofing can help you to save at least 20% on cooling costs. In other words, simply by painting over your tar with a weather-resistant layer of white paint, you can put a significant dent in your cooling costs. 

Other Options

While a white roof will help you save money in the summer, reflecting the sun's energy away from your roof during the winter deprives your building of solar heat gain. The more the sun heats your building during the winter, the less your heating equipment has to work. If you want a roofing system that will help reduce costs year round, you should consider installing a green roof. The word green here does not refer to color; instead, it indicates that your roof is made from living plants. These plants will absorb the sun's rays for photosynthesis and thus will prevent heat gain. Moreover, the growing medium will act as a layer of insulation to prevent heat gain during the summer and heat loss through your roof during the winter. Thus, a green roof provides year-round energy savings. In fact, the EPA estimates that installing a green roof on a 21,000-square-foot roof will save up to $200,000 dollars over the life of the roof. 

Rather than simply going with the least-expensive-to-install asphalt tar roof, you should look at the potential for energy savings when installing a roof on a commercial building. While installing an energy-efficient roof might cost more money initially, you will save money in the long run. For more information, contact companies like Specialty Commercial Contractors LLC.