Posts Tagged ‘green’
Twenty years ago, if you needed a commercial roofer, you pulled out your trusty phone book, called a few and hired one. But times have changed.
Unscrupulous roofers of all types, commercial roofers included, have made facility managers and business owners wary hiring commercial roofers to evaluate what roof work they may need. Some fear that a commercial roofer may try to talk them into buying materials or paying for work that isn’t necessary simply to make money.
Enter the roof consultant, a professional service that continues to gain popularity amongst facility managers and business owners from coast to coast. Roof consultants are third-party roofing experts that evaluate commercial roofs, from inspection and code compliance to determining the best materials and work necessary for a commercial roof.
Companies hire roofing consultants because they are unbiased, and provide independent, informed roofing advice without any outside influences that would cause them to advise facility managers or business owners to commit to any unnecessary repairs or materials. If your budget allows, they can be a great asset to a roofing project, as a roofing consultant will work with a commercial roofer to make sure your roofing project runs smoothly and stays on budget.
The decision to hire a roofing consultant is, of course, based on personal preference and is an option to consider. And before you embark on a big roofing adventure, it’s best to be informed of all your options. As always, feel free to call us here at Cole Roofing if you have any questions!
Despite America’s economic downturn, the green roofing industry is booming.
According to Toronto-based Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the green roofing industry grew by a whopping 16.1 percent in 2009. The number is a result of a 2010 industry survey of its corporate members, which found that green, or vegetated, roofs account for an estimated 10 million square feet of the 4 billion square feet of flat roofing that is either built or replaced in North America each year.
While the growth of the green roofing industry may sound surprising at first, it makes perfect sense when considering the many financial benefits of green roofs, including lower utility bills (up to 30 percent, thanks to the insulating properties of vegetated roofs), roof life extension (green roofs protect roofs against the damaging effects of UV rays, temperature extremes, erosion as well as human and animal damage) and storm water management, which can often be a costly issue for facilities (green roofs can absorb up to 75 percent of rainfall).
Green roofs, of course, have a long list of environmental benefits as well, including mitigating the heat island effect, reducing toxic storm water runoff and providing a refuge for wildlife.
The survey also compiled a list of the top ten green roof cities. Eco-conscious Chicago came in at number one for the sixth year in a row, followed by Washington, DC at number two, Minneapolis at three and our own Baltimore at number four.
Want to help a non-profit organization you care about get in on the green roof action? There’s still time left to vote in our Green Roof Giveaway! Don’t forget to vote before you leave our site today!
Sound too futuristic to be true? It’s not, thanks to vegetated roofing technology!
Brooklyn, New York, welcomed 21st-century urban farming with the 2009 opening of Eagle Street Rooftop Farms, a 6,000 square-foot organic vegetable farm located on a warehouse rooftop—yes, rooftop!— located in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood.
With sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline, the green roof was created by lifting 200,000 pounds of growing medium (a mix of compost, rock particulates and shale) over the course of two days. A two-inch roof base system made of polyethelene, a special drainage mat and retention and separation fabrics holds the growing medium (and all the produce!).
In its very first season, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms produced over 30 kinds of organic produce, which is sold at a local farmer’s market and delivered to nearby restaurants. The green roof farm also harvests fresh honey from two beehives that were installed amongst the greenery.
Beyond providing fresh, local herbs, vegetables and honey, the roof absorbs over 1.5 inches of rainfall, saving area waterways from significant stormwater runoff. It also helps lessen the large building’s carbon footprint, as well as its utility bills, by keeping the warehouse cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eagle Street Rooftop Farms even provides farming volunteer opportunities for community members, from seeding to harvest.
We think it’s so cool that vegetated roofs are able to go above and beyond simply being green to actually providing for the community. Just think: If your organization wins a green roof, you might be able to involve your community as well!
The race for the largest solar roof in the U.S. is on!
In 2008, the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, unveiled the nation’s largest solar roof—a a 2.36-megawatt system that produces approximately 26% of the center’s power.
But there’s about to be a new solar mayor in town: UK pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline recently announced it plans to build a massive 3.1-megawatt system atop its York, Pennsylvania distribution center. At over 350,000 square feet (about seven football fields) it will be the largest solar roof in the U.S, and produce all of the power for the large facility.
The project will cost an impressive $14 million, but GlaxoSmithKline will receive $4.1 million in federal tax credits, not to mention eliminate its $400,000 annual utility bill.
And the solar fun doesn’t stop there: the pharmaceutical giant plans to start another three-megawatt system at its U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh next year. The projects work towards GlaxoSmithKline’s goal of reducing its electricity usage 45% by 2015.
We don’t know about you, but the folks here at Cole Roofing could barely be more excited. As eco-conscious roofers, this is just the sort of healthy green competition we like to see. (It’s the green roofing version of football season!) Projects like this make headlines, which get people thinking about solar power and solar roofs. Let the competition begin!
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, by now you’ve learned a great deal about the benefits of green (or “vegetated”) roofs: Stormwater runoff management, a reduction in the heat island effect, lower utility bills through natural insulation, protection from UV damage. The list goes on and on.
There’s no doubting their benefits, but what if you, either as a homeowner or a facility manager or owner, were mandated by law to have a vegetated roof?
Toronto—where stormwater runoff has been a longtime issue of concern—was the first North American city to require green roofs on new developments. Last year, the Toronto City Council passed a bylaw mandating that all new residential, commercial and institutional buildings with a gross floor area of at least 2,000 square meters (about 21,500 square feet) built after January 31, 2010, have a certain percentage of their roof green. (To see a chart of the city’s green roof coverage requirements, click here. The bylaw will extend to new industrial development in just a few months (all industrial buildings built after January 31, 2011).
The far away metropolis of Tokyo, where government officials are trying to reduce the city’s urban heat island effect, also mandates green roofs on new construction of a certain size. New buildings more than 1,000 square meters (about 10,700 square feet) must green at least 20% of its usable roof space.
What do you think of this? While there are many benefits of green roofs, do you think local governments should be mandating them by law?
To learn more about local government efforts to mandate vegetated roofs, check out this post from Clean Air Through Green Roofs
When you think “Seattle,” what comes to mind? Grunge rock? Starbucks? The Seahawks?
Well, stop thinking flannel and start thinking green. Because the city of Seattle wants to go green in a major way by boosting the number of vegetated roofs within the eco-conscious metropolis.
A recently released report on the city’s green roofs tallied Seattle’s green roofs at 62, totaling some eight acres—about the equivalent of nine football fields. Although this may seem like an impressive amount, city officials want to significantly increase that number.
“That’s a pretty big chunk of land,” Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien told the Seattle Post Intelligencer last month . “[But] when you think about what’s possible in a city like Seattle, that’s just a drop in the bucket.”
Especially when compared to nearby Portland, Oregon, which currently has almost 12 acres of vegetated roofs (not counting the additional 15 acres of rooftop gardens), and has set a goal of a whopping 43 acres of green roofs by 2013.
We here at Cole Roofing are excited to hear of all the enthusiasm surrounding green roofs. Ten years ago, we would have never dreamed of cities vying for a competitive edge when it comes to vegetated roofs. Cities like Chicago and Atlanta may be green roof leaders for the time being, but it won’t be long until other U.S. cities catch up to them. We can’t wait to hear all about it, and help nearby Washington, D.C., and Baltimore jump in headfirst.
We’ve told you a little about how great green roofs (also called vegetated roofs) are for the environment, and how they can add to employee well-being, but what about financial benefits?
After all, green roofs can be more expensive than traditional roofs. Can home and business owners get back their money? The answer: A resounding yes. Read the rest of this entry »
The corporate break room. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
With buffed ceramic tile and off-white cabinets, it usually features a microwave, a few Formica tables, a coffee maker and not much more. The only sound within its cream-white walls, besides gossiping coworkers, is the hum of the vending machines.
Purely utilitarian, and, unless you work for an interior design firm, drab, drab and more drab.
But what if the corporate break room could be outside? Better yet, what if it could be on a rooftop with a great view, above the hubbub of the big city, with plenty of fresh air and sun?
Believe it or not, these employee spaces do exist, thanks to vegetated, or green, roofs. Besides plant life, the roofs feature benches, paths and, most importantly, a place to get away from the daily grind of the workday.
The American Society of Landscape Architects has expertly crafted a 3,000 square-foot green roof above their headquarters in busy downtown Washington, D.C. Workers wondering about weather conditions or the rooftop crowd on a nice day can even check out the roof’s live webcam before heading up.
Atlanta, Georgia’s Northpark 400 office building tops that with a whopping two-acre rooftop park, complete with both waterfall and restaurant. Photos of the impressive space prove that a vegetated roof can be as extravagant as you’d like. The sky is truly the limit.
Even better? Each one of these new, eco-friendly corporate break rooms reduces storm water runoff, helps cool cities by decreasing the heat island effect and effectively insulates buildings during both hot and cold weather, saving energy and boosting bottom lines.
Sure beats a microwave and a vending machine, huh? We think so, too.
When you think “roof” what automatically pops into your mind’s eye?
Probably the old standby roofing materials: asphalt, rubber, wood, clay, slate. But have you ever stopped to consider metal?
Yes, that’s right—metal. Not only is metal roofing cool (literally—but we’ll get to that in a second!), it’s green.
Metal roofing is making a big splash from coast to coast for its many sustainable qualities. Not only does it save on heating and cooling, but it’s often made from recycled metal, lasts much longer than traditional roofing materials and, at the end of its long life, is 100% recyclable.
The sustainable material saves energy year-round, decreasing air-conditioning needs in the summer and heating in the winter, which, in turn, reduces both our carbon footprint and electricity bills—up to 40 percent during the summer and 10 percent in the winter.
If that’s not eco-friendly enough for you, metal roofing can be installed directly over old roofing, preventing tons of asphalt and rubber roofing from ending up in landfills. And because metal roofing is more durable than traditional roofing products, there is less need for replacement and repair, decreasing the need for both raw materials and the energy necessary to convert them into construction-grade metals.
And “metal” doesn’t mean drab, either. Metal roofing comes in enough styles and colors to satisfy even the most discerning home or business owner. Good looking and environmentally responsible. Who says you can’t have it all?
Green roofs—also called vegetated roofs—may seem like new technology, but believe it or not, they’ve been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
While not in existence today, the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, may have been the world’s first of vegetated roofs. Said to have been built in present-day Iraq around 600 B.C., the gardens—constructed to please the homesick wife of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II—featured lush irrigated rooftops full of plants and flowers indigenous to his wife’s native Persia.
Sod roofs have been in existence for centuries in both Scandinavia and Iceland. Virtually fireproof, the natural, readily available roofing resource provides both insulation and a great way to incorporate architecture into the world around it.
What we now know as green or vegetated roofs took a great leap forward in Germany during the late 1960s and 1970s. It’s estimated that 10% of German roofs are now green. The trend spread throughout Europe in the 1980s and 1990s. Now the U.S. is finally starting to catch on to the many benefits of green roofs.
What started out as everyday sod with supportive beams underneath has now turned into a technologically savvy, eco-friendly industry that’s cooling our cities and providing a much-needed refuge for wildlife. Beautiful to look at and an investment that keeps giving back both to the environment and your wallet, vegetated roofs are finally getting the attention they deserve.