How Can Your Commercial Building's Roof Reduce Overhead Expenses?

Construction & Contractors Articles

Whether you've recently expanded your business operations into a larger building or are simply tired of paying a larger-than-desired percentage of your gross receipts toward infrastructure and utilities, you may be looking for ways to reduce your overhead by improving your building's efficiency. With advances in manufacturing technology and small-scale energy generation combined with generous tax incentives, you now have more options than ever before to turn your roof into a money-saving (or even money-making) part of your business. Read on to learn more about some ways to make your roof more cost-effective. 

Insulate your building with a high R-value roof

If your business is located in a part of the country that experiences uncomfortably low (or high) temperatures for much of the year, utility costs can eat into your profits or even consume them entirely. Large commercial buildings, particularly warehouses, tend to be less energy-efficient than smaller buildings or homes due to the tall roof height and lack of insulation. As a result, it's crucial to have a well-insulated roof that can help keep your building a steady temperature without requiring constant climate control.

A roof's efficiency is measured by its R-value, or thermal resistance. The higher the roofing material's R-value, the more resistant it is to heat transfer. This ensures that the warm or cool air pumped into your building through its climate control system won't dissipate through the roof while also helping prevent the sun's rays from penetrating. There are several roofing materials that provide a high R-value while also keeping costs low. 

  • Polystyrene

This lightweight, but solid, material is derived from crude oil and used in a variety of insulating products from flooring tiles to roofing tiles and everything in between. Polystyrene has the dual advantages of being light and strong, allowing it to support a rooftop air conditioning unit without additional reinforcement. Because polystyrene can easily be melted and reformed without producing much waste, it is highly recyclable–giving it an eco-friendly tag in some circles despite its crude origins. 

  • Recycled rubber 

Another eco-friendly and inexpensive option for commercial roofing is recycled rubber roofing tiles. These tiles are made from old tires, scrap rubber, and sometimes even asphalt melted together and compressed into a solid and waterproof square. Rubber roofing tiles can last for decades with proper maintenance, and should allow you to reduce your building's utility costs for years to come. 

Utilize natural resources by installing a water collection or solar system 

Once you've ensured your roof is doing all it can to prevent heat loss, you may want to improve its value even more by using it to take advantage of your area's natural resources. If your business is located in a region with high water prices (or heavy rainfall), installing a rooftop water collection and distillation system may allow your employees to wash their hands and flush the toilets using purified rainwater that doesn't cost you a cent. In some cases, you may even be able to use the collected water to run some of your manufacturing processes. 

Businesses in sun-drenched regions may find it advantageous to take advantage of prime rooftop real estate by installing solar panels. Depending upon your business's southern sun exposure and energy needs, you may be able to collect enough solar energy to put a significant dent into your electricity bill. If your business has low energy needs, you may even be able to sell the excess energy generated by your roof back to the power company or lease your solar panels to your utility provider. The installation of a rainwater collection system or solar panels can often help you qualify for a hefty energy-efficiency tax credit. 

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27 January 2016

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