Now that the cost of energy is at an all-time high, business owners are discovering more ways to reduce energy consumption. Many companies are using CFL bulbs, while others have switched to energy efficient office equipment to cut down on expenses. According to commercial contractors, for those business owners who have exhausted all of these options and still are not getting any tangible results, there is one part of the building that can greatly reduce energy consumption and that is the roof.
How Energy is Wasted
The roof is the part of the building that is most exposed to the elements, including direct heat in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. It is designed to protect the areas below it from these extreme temperatures; however, poor design or construction may cause it to function improperly and increase the energy demand of the building.
The peak time for energy consumption is during the cold months of winter and the hot summer months of summer. During the winter, roofs are often covered in thick layers of snow and ice. If it is poorly insulated, the structure will have no other choice but to absorb the cold temperatures, directing the cold into the below working area. Normally to combat the cold, building occupants will have to turn up the heat, which in turn increases the overall energy consumption. The same thing happens during the summer. Heat will penetrate the poor construction and increase the temperature of the offices below it, again causing the thermostat to be turned down and energy consumption increases.
There are so many products designed to provide good insulation and effectively reduce indoor heating or cooling requirements. Following are some tips and products that can help improve energy efficiency.
- Install Proper Insulation – Naturally, the roof absorbs the outside temperature which is then radiated to the space below. An insulation layer is designed to prevent heat or cold from penetrating the work space of the building. Most places that have energy problems often have poor insulation. The material used was probably too thin to provide the necessary protection. Other times the problem lies with the improper distribution of the material. Some areas may have been over-insulated while other areas may not have enough, resulting in ineffective insulation. Damp insulation, caused by leaks in the roof, can also result in increased energy requirements, as wet insulation losses its insulating properties.
- Energy Efficient Material – Another way of reducing heat or cold transmission is through the use of energy efficient materials and there are many manufacturers offering these products. The principle behind them is pretty much the same, which are their thermal capabilities. An inch of space is left between the underlayment and the finish to allow air to freely circulate between the spaces. This design is particularly useful during warm weather where the warm air underneath the finish exits through the flashing and draws in cold air through the eaves as it leaves.
- Reflective Coating – Another means of improving energy consumption during summer is through solar reflectance. Ordinary roofs simply absorb the heat from the sun, and the insulation prevents it from being transmitted indoors, although in many cases this is ineffective. Reflective roofing reflects fifty to sixty percent of the visible, infrared and UV rays of the sun. This significant reduction in heat absorption generally results in a huge reduction in the cooling requirements of a building during the hot summer months.
It is usually not realized that the top of a building is one of the biggest culprits in rising energy costs for many businesses. If all of these energy saving measures fail to deliver desired results, perhaps it is time to talk to a professional contractor and consider implementing energy saving measures to lower energy consumption and not lose potential savings out the roof!
Are you looking for a Houston commercial roofing company to help your business conserve energy? Schulte Roofing of Navasota provides commercial roofing services to the greater Houston area and can help Houston customers with all of their roofing needs!