Flat Roof For Energy Conservation

Flat Roofing for Energy Conservation
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Drivers For Energy Efficiency

A significant factor in building design today is a matter of energy conservation. Either by using fewer fossil fuels in the running of the building or using fuels that don’t add much, if anything, to build-up a carbon dioxide atmosphere. Energy conservation is also a factor in the refurbishment of buildings. Its principles are applied wherever possible and practical. Today, we refurbish many building to save on energy costs and emissions, where energy conservation is the driver behind the refurbishment.

Government has for several years been trying to encourage this drive towards energy conservation with various white papers and financial incentive schemes. The latest of these is the ‘Green homes Scheme’, which aims to make the existing housing stock in England more energy efficient. By offering grants to homeowners for the purpose to produce more energy improvements to their property. In Wales, a similar scheme exists as the ‘Nest’ scheme.

Energy efficiency improvements include such aspects as hot water tank improvements, heating controls, double or triple-glazing and insulation for walls, loft or flat roof.

Business, industrial and commercial premises also benefit from the savings involved in making energy efficiency improvements to their properties. Also, the rented property can attract higher revenues by having a high energy rating according to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Energy Assessments

Since up to 35% of a building’s heat can be lost through the roof. So, having a well-insulated roof can be a significant contributor to the thermal efficiency of the building. The actual proportion of heat lost via the roof-top will depend on the ratio of roof-area to wall area and the actual construction of the roof and walls. Walls containing a lot of glazed window area will have a more significant heat loss than concrete insulated walls.

Professional Energy Assessors can survey a property, and by taking an account of a whole range of criteria (such as the type of fuel in use for heating, type of lighting, windows, wall fabric, heating and lighting controls and roofing system), can determine the benefits to be gained by making specific improvements. By examining the existing thermal efficiency of a flat roof. They can advise on the beneficial effect of upgrading the flat roof insulation. Insulation upgrades usually are carried out as a matter of course when replacing a flat roof covering, which is a requirement by Building Regulations.

Low-rise buildings with a large roof area, such as schools and factory premises, have the most to gain from flat roof insulation improvements. Since the roof area is large in comparison to the external walls.  The amount of progress will depend on the relative increase in insulation thickness from the previous to the proposed installation.

Not Just For Keeping Warm

Note that flat roof insulation also provides the reverse effect of heat retention in summer months by keeping the heat of solar gain out of the building and helping to support the interior cool. For many modern commercial buildings, the costs of artificially cooling the interior through air-conditioning are outweighing the heating costs.

Flat Roof Insulation Upgrades

While it is quite feasible to add a layer of insulation externally to the roof covering on some buildings, with a layer of ballast on top to retain it. Flat roof insulation upgrades are also a part of a roof refurbishment project. When the waterproofing system gets replaced with a new roofing membrane. The roof can be thermally upgraded in line with current Building Regulations.

The addition of solar panels for clean electricity generation and green roof coverings for environmental improvements are further enhancements which can be made to flat roof upgrades.

There may, however, be technical and practical issues involved in trying to install a fully compliant upgrade to a flat roof. The extra thickness of insulation required to be applied to the roof surface to achieve the required U-value (a measure of the thermal performance of the roof) may infringe on low window cills, door thresholds, damp-proof courses, or roof edge kerbs. In these cases, it may be necessary to raise cills, cavity trays or roof edges to accommodate the insulation, and it may be the case that the ancillary costs involved reduce the benefits of the insulation upgrade. Ideally, the cost of any insulation upgrade should be recoverable against future fuel expenditure, although the advantage of an improved EPC rating will also be taken into account.

Speak To The Experts

Its time, where an experienced flat roof contractor can offer advice and assistance, by surveying a roof thoroughly and pointing out the implications for the building of upgrading the thermal insulation. The contractor will be able to advise the client regarding any other alterations which will be required to the building, such as raising perimeter kerbs, cavity trays and door thresholds, as well as possibly replacing roof lights and other roof furniture.

AAC Waterproofing is experienced in flat roof refurbishment, from the initial survey and advice through to the completed installation of the roofing materials. We will be happy to assist with your flat roof upgrade or refurbishment project.