Robert Solomon | Indy Week

Robert Solomon 
Member since Feb 17, 2010

Tampa, Florida



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Re: “Raising the (green) roof

As a State Certified Commercial Roofing Contractor and fiscally conservative environmentalist (I know those words aren't typically spoken together)with 37 years of commercial roofing experience at the highest level, I would like to clear up the discussion of "Green" roofing.

When discussing "Green Roofs", almost 100% of laymen will think only of a "Vegetated" roof. In fact, synthetic, highly reflective, roof membranes are LEED compliant according to page 95 LEED V2.2. Wal-Mart is the largest private consumer in the United States uses it and discusses benefits on their website. ProLogis, the largest oweners of commercial retail space in the United States does the same thing. I am certain they would not be doing this if it were not both serviceable and a VALUE.

Energy modeling (when compared to a petroleum based roof) indicate typical energy savings in the 20% range. The additional benefits are 100% clean storm water runoff, lower up front cost and life cycle cost.

A 200,000 sq. ft. structure energy model (Florida) comparing identical insulation systems indicated the fillowing (Term of Warranty is 30 years):

20.7% energy savings. $476,000.00 over the life of the roof, 77,000 lbs. carbon reduction, and clean storm water runoff which does not leach nitrogen and phosphate. This is critical as our tributaries absorb these elements and subsequentially inhibit microbial growth and subsequentially wildlife.

White Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) has a 100% solar index (according to Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories and Cool Roof Rating Council) in some cases (Firestone, GAF, Etc.) thus satisfying Heat Island Effect requirements of LEED.

I am not remotely trying to demean "Vegetative Roofing" as I feel they certainly have a place in dense urban environments such as Chicago and New York. Entry features may also be enhanced in this way from a roofing and aesthetical viewpoint.

"Vegetative Roofing" requires a great deal of structural support which most commercial and residential structures simply do not have. I may take issue with the comment about "costing twice as much" as my experience has indicated almost 400% more cost than an R-20 TPO. You must also consider single source responsibility. In vegetative, you have a roofer, landscaping architect, building maintenance crews, etc.

A TPO warranted roof is by the manufacturer approved roofing contractor and backed by eeither bonding or committed funds committed for this purpose. Vastly reducing the chances of "Finger Pointing".

The number one cause of injuries in the roofing industry is soft tissue damage. This is due to the very heavy rolls of petroleum based roof systems. Most systems utilize a "cap sheet" which weighs approximately 100 lbs. per roll (100 sq. ft. coverage).

Do not be confused by the white ceramic granules as they have VERY LITTLE EFFECT in terms of reflection. They are essentially a convection oven absorbing the sun's radiant energy and can attain temperatures of around 170 degrees F. which will stress the roof insulation further and allow absorption.

Example: In Florida, homeowners have access to rebates by energy providers if they replace their roofs with approved products which do not include asphalt shingles. Further, if you replace a black shingle roof with a white shingle roof, you WILL NOT qualify. Why? Because the sun "sees" petroleum based roofs as black.

I will point out a MAJOR design flaw of many vegetative systems. The vegetative roof concept is noble, but when you install a vegetative roof over asphalt waterproofing (see Ford, Dearborn, Michigan Plant @ 11 acres)you completely defeat the purpose. Why? Because rainwater falls on the vegetation, is filtered by the growing medium, and then hits OIL and then picks up multiple contaminents I've described earlier.

If you are set on a "Vegetated" system, you must insist on a synthetic waterproofing membrane underneath.

Currently their is no environmentally friendly asphalt shingle on the market. I address these issues with a fully synthetic TPO shingle system over titanium underlayment. The patent provides for a roof system that contains no oil in it's finished form, titanium is an outstanding secondary water barrier, and would provide 100% clean water flowing into our groundwater supplies. I would think that anyone who utilize roof water catchment devices (over 400,000 people in New Zealand depend on the roof as their only source of water)and cisterns would greatly benefit by this system.

Please feel welcome to contact me as I've written numerous monographs on the topic and will be happy to forward them upon request. I am thankful to anyone who places even the smallest measure of interest in what I'm trying to achieve. My thoughts are focused on the taxpayer and value.

I hope I've successfully illustrated how you must "Interface" roofing material, energy savings, and clean water.


Robert R. Solomon, CPRC

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert Solomon on 02/17/2010 at 11:45 AM

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