Green Roofing: 6 Ways EPDM Is Raising The Roof For Sustainable Roofing Technologies

Did you know that even your choice of roofing can have a significant impact on the environment? Many of us are aware that 25% of buildings’ heat being lost through uninsulated roofs, and that good insulation makes our homes more energy efficient. However, there’s still a lot more we can do to improve our environmental footprint. For those wanting to take a step forward and invest in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly roofing technology available, EPDM rubber roofing might just be the answer. Here are some of the properties that make EPDM so eco-friendly.

1. Lifespan

EPDM rubber roofs are one of the most durable types of roofing available. They have been proven to last for at least 40 or 50 years and sometimes even longer, if proper maintenance is carried out. Other flat roofing materials such as fibreglass usually last between 20-25 years, and British Standard Mastic Asphalt (one of the most common roofing materials) for at least ten years. EPDM is an especially long-lasting material, meaning your roof will not need replacing as frequently. Therefore, it requires fewer resources, which makes it a more environmentally friendly roofing choice.

2. Environmental impact

The materials used in manufacturing and installing EPDM also have a very low environmental impact. Most importantly, there are no toxic substances released from the rubber material, minimising the impact on the local environment. Importantly, run-off water from the roof will not be harmful to animals and wildlife. This also means there’s the potential for rainwater harvesting from an EPDM roof. This is when surface water on the flat roof can be drained for use in the home. For example, to flush toilets, use in washing machines or drain into water storage tanks used for watering plants. EPDM roofing is particularly suited for rainwater harvesting, as its smooth and flat rubber surface allows for the quick and easy drainage of water. It’s a completely waterproof system when correctly installed, so it doesn’t damage the building structure underneath.

3. Flood Solutions

There’s an additional benefit to EPDM’s suitability, as it can also be used to help manage flood risks. Small amounts of rainwater can actually be stored on EPDM coated roofs and allowed to drain over the course of a few hours. This could help certain parts of the world to cope with intense rainfall, as the volume of water to drain is significantly reduced and staggered over a larger timespan.

4. Green, black and white roof technologies

EPDM is particularly suited to green roof technologies (the growing of vegetation on roofs). EPDM is a popular choice for the membrane that sits underneath the layer of growing vegetation because it’s resilient and completely waterproof.
Green roofs provide a new habitat for plants and animals, help to absorb water and carbon emissions, reduce heat lost through the roof whilst also offering a more natural and aesthetically pleasing surface, especially for very built-up areas.
What’s more, black EPDM can be installed in colder climates, such as the UK, to absorb more heat from the sun. This can help reduce the amount of heating required within the property. Similarly, in hot climates, white EPDM surfaces reflect some of the sun’s heat and actually have a cooling effect on buildings.

5. Recyclability

The rubber material can be reused and recycled after its life as a roof has finished. EPDM recycling technologies have improved drastically in recent years and are no longer holding the construction material back in its environmentally-friendly status. After it has been removed from a roof, it can be ground down into a variety of different sized rubber pieces. It has been estimated that recycling EPDM materials is 30% cheaper than sending the materials to landfill sites. The reprocessed rubber can then be re-installed on another flat roof, or used in paving materials for footpaths and playground surfaces.

6. Solar panel technology

Whilst solar panels can be installed on any roof – whether flat or pitched – this eco-friendly technology is perfect for rubber flat roofs, as their flat gradient makes it easier to install and access the technology. The solar panels do not need to be installed into the flat roof membrane, but can simply be weighted down on the surface with watertight frames or fixed directly onto the flat roof.

As you can see, EPDM is pioneering the way in sustainable roofing. In North America, EPDM is now the leading recycled commercial roof membrane material! It’s the perfect eco-friendly roofing choice for both residential and commercial properties.

Guest post by Waterproof Systems.

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