Factors That Affect Commercial Roof Sustainability

5 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog


If you're a business owner who is concerned about the environmental impact of your design choices, picking a roofing option that's sustainable can be a big task. There are a few factors that can help to make your roof a more sustainable option, so consider these qualities of a great eco-friendly roof.

Type of Material

The first factor that determines how sustainable a roof is is how much energy and waste goes into creating the material itself. Wood material is naturally occurring and it can be applied to many roofing designs, such as wood shingles or wood shake. On the opposite side of the spectrum, asphalt, petroleum-based shingles can take their environmental toll as they are being created. While some typical commercial roofing options are man-made and chemical-based, you may be able to get creative with your commercial roofing contractor to come up with some sustainable options.

Sourcing of Content

The source where you personally get your content matters as well. Some materials may be high-energy to create, but if you can reclaim them from another building project, then you may actually be doing a good deed. Salvaged tiles are common for clay roofing projects, for example. If parts of your roofing materials can be made from recycled content, this is another feature to discuss with your roofing expert. 


The reflectivity of your roof can affect your future energy savings greatly. When the material is reflective, it will prevent the sun's rays from overheating your home; this can have an impact on your cooling bills, especially in the summer. Many roofing materials can be made more reflective by applying white paint. Choosing lighter metal roofing materials is another good option. And installing a plant mesh on your roof doesn't increase reflectivity per se, but the plants can have a similar effect by absorbing most of the sun's energy. 

Maintenance Needs

Maintenance is another big issue affecting roof sustainability. If you need to frequently apply new finishes to your roof, for example, you may be consuming a lot of energy in the effort of manufacturing these artificial chemicals. Some roofing materials, like clay, can last naturally for decades. 


You may also want to think about what will happen to your roofing materials when you're done with them. Wood shingles are a leader in this category, since the material is completely biodegradable. Be sure that your content is, at least, easy to recycle into other commercial roofing or construction projects. 

While there is no silver bullet in choosing the most energy-efficient roofing option, there are many ways that you can reduce your environmental impact by assessing each roofing option using the tips above. Contact a company like Patrick Miller Construction for more information.