white flat roof

Sustainability, energy efficiency, and resiliency have become standard topics of discussion in commercial real estate circles. Commercial property managers are increasingly asked to develop and deliver plans to improve a building’s performance in these areas to secure or retain tenants.  You may be surprised to learn that roofing system design and material selection can contribute meaningfully towards a building’s sustainability targets.


reflective roof diagramWhite, or “cool” roofing materials reflect the heat of the sun, which in turn reduces cooling costs during the hot summer months. Nearly all types of roof membrane systems can now be made to be highly reflective. TPO and PVC single-ply membranes are typically manufactured in a white color.  You can get white EPDM rubber membranes. Even asphalt systems can be made reflective by incorporating light-colored cap sheet granules, coatings, or even white aggregates.


Incorporated in most modern commercial roof systems, below the waterproof membrane, and above the roof deck, is insulation. The amount of insulation required in roof assemblies is codified in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and varies widely by region driven by environmental and weather conditions. Over the years, as it has become more understood how conditioned air can escape a building, the amount of insulation required as part of a code-compliant roof system has risen dramatically. Therefore, the design of a commercial building’s roof system will have a very meaningful impact on the energy efficiency performance of the building.

Supply Chain

dumpster filled with roofing materialsTo be truly sustainable in design and material selection, specifiers should look deeply at the full supply chain of vendors to determine if all is being done to reduce the environmental and social impact in their sourcing and manufacturing. Topics like ethical and local sourcing, material yields, recycled content, health and safety impacts on those handling and installing the systems, installed system energy performance, system longevity, and end of life recyclability are all relevant in the selection of roofing materials.

Restoration and Roof Recovery

Restoring or recovering an aging roof is far more sustainable than a full tear-off and replacement. In both cases, an existing roof system is left in place as the foundation for a new roof, which can add insulating value and reflectivity to a building without sending dumpster loads of waste to landfills.

Hiring a Professional Roofer

As you can see, sustainability and roofing do go together. If you’re ready to learn more, speak with a professional at Innovative Roofing Group today to discuss the options you have for a roof that will keep your energy costs low. Call 404-594-6038 or email us to learn more!