Cool Roofing Tax Incentives

Two main Federal tax incentives exist for installation of cool roofing, but as with any Federal government program there are qualifications that need to be met.

Residential Tax Credit

At this time, single-ply membranes are not eligible for a tax credit on residential applications. However, if additional insulation is installed during roof replacement, the cost of the insulation can be claimed as a credit.

Commercial Tax Deduction

In general, tax law allows a deduction for part or all of the cost of energy efficient building property that the taxpayer places in service between December 31, 2005 and December 31, 2013. Several conditions must be met to qualify for the commercial tax deduction:

1. The building must be within the U.S. and must meet the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001 – Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.

2. To qualify for the maximum total combined deduction for all lighting, HVAC, hot water, and building envelope property installed, the total annual energy and power costs of the building must be reduced by at least 50 percent. A partial deduction is allowed for each separate building system. The IRS set the following target reductions in March 2008:

  • Interior lighting – 20%
  • HVAC and hot water – 20%
  • Building envelope – 10%

Cool roofing is partially qualifying if it is estimated to reduce the total annual energy and power costs by 10 percent or more. The maximum deduction amount for partially qualifying property is $0.60 per square foot of the building.

3. The Performance Rating Method (PRM) must be used to compute the percentage reduction. Calculations are based on a reference building located in the same climate zone as the taxpayer’s building and containing the new building component that has been incorporated, but is otherwise identical to the reference building. The Department of Energy maintains a list of qualified software to be used to calculate energy and power costs for certification.

4. To claim the deduction, the taxpayer must obtain a certification provided by a qualified individual. The taxpayer is not required to attach the certification to the tax return, but the taxpayer must maintain proper records to establish the entitlement. A qualified individual:

  • is not related to the taxpayer claiming the deduction;
  • is an engineer or contractor that is properly licensed as a professional engineer or contractor in the jurisdiction in which the building is located; and
  • Has represented in writing to the taxpayer that he or she has the requisite qualifications.

A certification must contain:

  • the name, address, and telephone number of the qualified individual;
  • the address of the building to which the certification applies;
  • one of five statements (as outlined by the IRS) explaining the manner in which the building envelope property satisfies energy efficiency requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions about PVC Roofing Systems: Part 7

This is the final posting in a seven part series.

Q: I’ve heard that PVC cannot be recycled. Is this true?

A: No. In fact, PVC is inherently recyclable. Vinyl materials can be reprocessed and recycled repeatedly, and PVC is the only roofing material that has proven to be recyclable back into new roofing products. In Europe, PVC roofing materials have been recycled for nearly 15 years. In the U.S., more than one billion pounds of post-industrial vinyl are recycled annually, and that number is growing. Many U.S. PVC roofing manufacturers have established recycling programs, including Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s sister company, Oscoda Plastics, Inc. has recycled an annual average of almost six million pounds of vinyl over the last three years using PVC scrap from at least 20 sources representing at least 10 types of products, including film, sheeting, seats, air domes, automotive and, of course, roofing.

The Vinyl Roofing Division of CFFA initiated a feasibility study for national recycling in January of 2008. PVC can also be safely incinerated to recover and use the latent energy, or land-filled. In fact, many landfills use PVC liners to contain contamination.

Q: Didn’t the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) just propose a new LEED system for health-care facilities that awards sustainability points for avoiding halogenated products like PVC?

A: Yes. Last November, the USGBC issued a draft proposal for LEED for Healthcare (LEED-HC) that would award points for avoiding all halogenated materials, including PVC. To date, LEED-HC has undergone two public comment periods, ending February 19, 2008 with many organizations and member companies questioning a rating system that ignores the conclusion of their own five-year study on PVC building materials. What’s curious about the LEED-HC proposal is that it was issued just a few months after its own Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee (TSAC) issued its final report to the USGBC’s LEED Steering Committee (LSC) on the technical and scientific basis for PVC-related credits within the LEED Green Building Rating System. Like so many other exhaustive LCA studies, the five-year TSAC study is the best environmental option.

Q: Where can I go for more information about the safety, sustainability, use and performance of PVC roofing systems, or PVC in general?

A: There are plenty of places to get solid, scientifically-proven information about PVC products and roofing materials:

The Vinyl Institute

Vinyl Roofing Division of CFFA

The Vinyl Environmental Council (Japan)

Vinyl In Design

Phthalate Information Center

ASTM International

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC)

Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.

ENERGY STAR ratings

ENERGY STAR Roof Products energy savings calculator

Green Globes, Environmental Assessments for Buildings

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Single Ply Roofing Industry Association (SPRI)

U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Program

A Few Observations from the Recently-Concluded International Roofing Expo

It seemed like overall show traffic was down, and that exhibitors had made smaller investments in their booths than in previous years. However, traffic to the Duro-Last booth was steady, primarily because of our hands-on welding contest for visitors and the comprehensive array of accessories displayed by Duro-Last’s division EXCEPTIONAL® Metals.

About 100 people competed in the welding contest, and anyone who could weld a roof stack in less than 90 seconds was awarded a Duro-Last t-shirt. This was intended to demonstrate how Duro-Last’s pre-fabrication approach to producing roofing systems results in labor-savings for contractors.

Duro-Last Contractor Advisory Board President Ken Kelly presented: Tools to Manage your Business: Let the Business Run Itself. Ken discussed practical tips and tools to help track and control business functions to better manage for success. His session was relevant for companies of all sizes.

Perhaps the most prevalent technology on display during the show was rooftop solar equipment. Several solar manufacturers and providers demonstrated their wares either on their own or in conjunction with roofing system manufacturers. At Duro-Last, we promoted a “solar-ready” approach, in that our system can accommodate virtually any rooftop solar application on the market. Clearly, solar systems will be part of roof construction and retrofit discussions for the foreseeable future.

The 2011 International Roofing Expo will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, February 16-18.

Would you like to share your IRE experience? Send us a comment and we may post it on the blog!

Why Cool Roofs Are Way Cool

By Cool Roof Rating Council

A cool roof reflects and emits the sun’s energy as light back to the sky instead of allowing it to enter the building below as heat. In many climate zones, a cool roof can substantially reduce the cooling load of the building, providing several direct benefits to the building owner and occupants:

  • Increased occupant comfort, especially during hot summer months
  • Reduced air conditioning use, resulting in energy savings typically – 10-30%1, and
  • Decreased roof maintenance costs due to longer roof life.

Cool roofs benefit the environment and public health in additional ways. As recognition of these benefits has become more widespread, cool roof requirements are appearing in building energy codes and green building programs across the nation.

Climate Change Mitigation

Cool roofs reduce greenhouse gas emissions by conserving electricity for air conditioning; less CO2 is emitted from power plants. Cool roofs also help cool the world, simply by reflecting the sun’s energy back to the atmosphere, thereby mitigating global warming. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that world-wide reflective roofing will produce a global cooling effect equivalent to offsetting 24 gigatons of CO2 over the lifetime of the roofs. This equates to $600 billion in savings from CO2 emissions reduction.2

Urban Heat Island Mitigation

Cities can be 2° to 8°F warmer than surrounding areas due to dark materials, including roofs, which absorb the sun’s light energy as heat during the day and release it at night as heat.3 This phenomenon prevents air from cooling down at night and results in higher temperatures being maintained longer. By immediately reflecting solar radiation back into the atmosphere and reemitting some portion of it as infrared light, cool roofs result in cooler air temperatures for urban environments during hot summer months.

Urban Heat Island Profile

Reduced Smog

Cool roofs, through mitigation of the urban heat island effect and reduction of ambient air temperatures, in turn improve air quality. Smog is created by photochemical reactions of air pollutants and these reactions increase at higher temperatures. Therefore, by reducing the air temperature, cool roofs decrease the rate of smog formation.

Public Health Benefits

Lower ambient air temperatures and the subsequent improved air quality also result in a reduction in heat-related and smog-related health issues, including heat stroke and asthma.

Peak Energy Savings and Grid Stability

Because cool roofs reduce air-conditioning use during the day’s hottest periods, the associated energy savings occur when the demand for electricity is at its peak. Therefore, cool roofs reduce stress on the energy grid during hot summer months and helps avoid shortages that can cause blackouts or brownouts. In addition, for building owners that pay for energy based on the time of use, they save energy – and more money – when it is at its most expensive.

Secondary Energy Benefits

Cool roofs directly reduce air conditioning use for buildings by reducing heat gain in the building below, but they also indirectly reduce air conditioning use in urban areas by helping lower ambient air temperatures. Cooler daytime temperatures mean that buildings and vehicles use less air conditioning and save additional energy. In turn, this results in a reduction in the CO2 emissions from electricity generating power plants.

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) is a non-profit membership organization. Formed in 1998, the CRRC maintains a credible, third-party rating system to measure and label the radiative properties of roofing materials. Please visit the CRRC at www.coolroofs.org.

1Energystar.gov

2 Akbar, H. (2008). Global Cooling: Increasing Solar Reflectance of Urban Areas to Offset CO2. In press, Climate Change.

3 Energystar.gov