What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a voluntary and internationally recognized green building program. The goal for participants is to achieve LEED certification, which is based on a point system. When you design your building in compliance with sustainable standards, or you undertake a major eco-conscious renovation, you earn points towards LEED accreditation.
Your building’s roof is just one place you can earn LEED points but when you’re trying to reach your environmental goals, it’s an important consideration. At North American Roofing, we offer a variety of eco-conscious roofing options that meet LEED standards.
The Heat Island Effect
Roofs and buildings, especially in urban areas, tend to magnify the intensity of the sun’s rays and increase the temperature of the immediate surroundings. This creates a detrimental microclimate for humans and wildlife in the vicinity. The LEED system awards points for roofs that actively work to reduce or eliminate this heat island effect.
If you ran around barefoot as a kid, you know that stepping on an asphalt street on a hot sunny day could be a painful experience. The same thing holds true for roofs. Buildings with white or highly reflective roofs absorb less heat than dark roofs. For a low-slope roof to qualify for LEED credits it should have a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of at least 78. The higher the SRI number – the better. Another roofing industry term used to signify solar reflectivity is “albedo.” Typically, a high-albedo roof is one that meets or exceeds LEED standards.
The LEED council does not certify roofing systems or products, but the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), serves as an independent third-party group that determines the radiant properties of roofing surface materials. North American Roofing installs all major brands of roofing systems so we can work within your budget and design to help you reach your LEED goals.
Choosing a vegetative or garden roof for your building reduces the heat island effect and earns LEED credits. Typically, 25% to 50% of the roof surface should be vegetative in order to quality for credit. Many facility owners opt for a combination garden/cool roof. Vegetative roofs are not only environmentally sound – they’re attractive and appreciated by the community.
What Can You Do Now?
Existing buildings might not fully qualify for LEED certification, but don’t let that stop you from taking a close look at the roof. Over time, and in combination with a lack of maintenance and repairs, roofs simply wear out. The application of a new roof coating on a salvageable roof, or a completely new system on a roof that’s reached the end of its useful life, can greatly reduce energy consumption. We offer individual energy audits that compare and analyze two or more different types of roof systems.
Whether you’re trying for LEED credits or you just want a more energy efficient roof, North American Roofing can help. Call us today at 800-551-5602 to find out how we can assist you in achieving your environmental goals for your building.