- Reduced Natural Landscape: The loss of natural vegetation and water bodies, which cool the atmosphere, significantly contributes to the UHI effect.
- Urban Material Properties: Materials used in urban construction, like exterior walls and pavements, tend to absorb and retain solar energy, exacerbating the heat.
- Urban Geometry and Landscape: The configuration, size and layout of urban structures often obstruct wind flow and trap solar energy, contributing to higher temperatures.
- Heat from Human Activity: The heat generated from vehicles, air conditioning and other building systems further intensifies heat in urban areas.
- Weather and Geography: Factors such as average wind speed, cloud cover, humidity, and geographical features also play significant roles in the UHI effect.
New research shows the color of a commercial roof only bears a negligible impact (2-3%) on the energy efficiency of a building. This finding is in stark contrast with the common thinking that places roof color at the forefront of energy efficiency discussions and should encourage a reexamination of existing roof color mandates. It also underscores the importance of focusing on more influential factors, like insulation technology, to help mitigate the UHI effect and enhance energy efficiency in commercial buildings.
EPDM Roofing: Long-Term Performance and Sustainability
When roofing membrane decisions are made by industry stakeholders, EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) becomes a popular choice due to its durability and longevity, regardless of color. EPDM, available in both black and white, is one of the oldest and most trusted commercial roofing membranes. What sets EPDM apart is its exceptional lifespan, often upwards of 40 years. This long lifespan makes EPDM a favorable choice, especially when a roof must perform consistently for decades, such as in schools, hospitals, government buildings, and corporate offices.
EPDM’s notably low global warming potential (GWP) is a key benefit, especially in today’s environmentally conscious landscape. With a GWP of 6.93 Kg CO2/SF, as documented by an ERA study, EPDM’s GWP is nearly half that of the nearest common low-slope roof material, making it a more climate-friendly roofing option among single-ply commercial roofing alternatives. Additionally, EPDM is highly regarded for its excellent durability and high UV resistance, critical attributes that allow it to stand the test of time and the rigors of various weather conditions. As a long-term investment towards sustainable and resilient infrastructure, EPDM effectively addresses both economic and environmental concerns that are crucial in choosing your next roof.
Not Just a Black-and-White Decision
Choosing a roofing membrane is no longer simply a “black or white” decision. The primary factors influencing this choice should be budgetary and climate considerations rather than simply color. While EPDM can have a higher upfront cost than some alternatives, its remarkable longevity and minimal maintenance requirements can lead to lower long-term expenses. Regional weather conditions also play an important role in this decision-making process. For instance, black roofs are often better suited to colder regions where they can aid in melting snow, while white roofs in warmer climates can help reflect heat, contributing to cooler interior temperatures. However, the traditional focus on the impact of a roof’s reflectivity on energy savings has taken a backseat to today’s high-performing insulation systems, which have become the predominant factor in a building’s insulation performance. When it comes to picking roofing material and color, it’s worth diving deeper and looking at the long-term financial and weather benefits to make sure the roofing choices are the right fit for the building’s short- and long-term needs.
Elevating Roofing Solutions: EPDM Offerings Tailored for Modern Needs
As the conversation around roofing material and color shifts, it’s essential that industry leaders align on solutions that meet aesthetic preferences and regulatory requirements while embracing a forward-looking environmental outlook. Leading the charge to meet the nuanced needs of architects, engineers and contractors is Elevate™, one of the leading manufacturers of commercial roofing systems. Elevate features two high-quality EPDM offerings for each roof color option: RubberGard™ EPDM in black and EcoWhite™ EPDM in white. RubberGard EcoWhite EPDM membrane is an excellent solution for scenarios where roof color mandates or preferences are at play, aligning with the LEED requirements for a “cool roof” and facilitating a pathway towards LEED certification for buildings. The Elevate EPDM portfolio offers a mix of innovation, performance, and adaptability, showcasing a modern approach to navigating the color and material maze of contemporary roofing solutions.