Yet Another Green Design Tool

Many are at least somewhat familiar with green design programs such as LEED® and Green Globes. The ENERGY STAR® Roof Products Program and the Cool Roof Ratings Council have been providing lists of qualified or rated products for years now, however, recently there have been some questions about another design guide and what it has to say about cool roofing.

The Advanced Energy Design Guides were developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The guides are a series of publications designed to provide recommendations for achieving energy savings above and beyond the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999. They are intended for contractors and designers of small buildings and provide a simple approach to achieve energy savings without utilizing complex calculations or analysis.

The guides give general recommendations in the Building Envelope sections stating that cool or “solar reflective” roofs help reduce energy usage. They do not offer the specificity of LEED or Green Globes, rather they make general recommendations like “increase roof surface reflectance and emittance.”

They also provide useful charts and climate maps that indicate relative performance of various types of roofing products and areas of the country that may benefit most from cool roofing systems.

The Advanced Energy Design Guides are available as free downloads from Highly reflective white membranes, such as what’s used in the Duro-Last® Cool Zone® roofing system offer a great opportunity for owners of small buildings to achieve real energy savings.

Pilot Held Hostage by Rogue Roofing Manufacturer!

A year and a half ago the U.S. Green Building Council initiated a new program to allow for the testing of potential new LEED® credits. Titled “LEED Pilot Credit Library,” this collection of pilot credits allows project teams to test potential new credits and work with the USGBC to develop future LEED credits and categories.

Pilot Credit 2: PBT Source Reduction: Dioxins and Halogenated Organic Compounds has been greatly misunderstood and misrepresented by some roofing manufacturers. Some of them have used this credit as a negative promotional tool by misrepresenting the purpose and content of the credit. To receive a point for this credit, the submitter must do the necessary research and provide the results and documentation to USGBC. The research could either support or reject the intent of the credit.

In this credit, it is required that for each alternative product, the submitter must “…conduct and submit a multi-parameter alternative product analysis that includes at a minimum one (1) other product that serves the same function.” The study must also “…include at least 4 parameters (in addition to absence of halogenated materials) associated with the products manufacture or service life . . . used to assess suitability of the product selected.” So the research done must be very extensive and supported with empirical data.

Recent information shows that of the fifty or more submissions for this credit, all have been rejected. The main reason is that no supporting documentation or studies were done to suggest awarding a point either for or against the use of halogenated products (PVC being one). If a credit were to be awarded, it would be through the Innovation category of LEED, not for “non-use” of PVC. If it is determined that there is enough interest and data to consider adding a new credit category, then it would still be necessary to go through the typical public review process prior to being established.

The LEED process for approving new credits is extensive and (hopefully) transparent. By being armed with the facts and understanding how the process works, no one should be able to storm the flight deck and take over the plane.

Green Globes® Is Now An ANSI Standard

In April, the Green Building Initiative received word that its Green Globes® green design guideline was approved as an American National Standard. The new standard is not yet part of Green Globes’ online system, but it will be in the future. It is set up as a tool to assess the designer’s plans rather than to instruct in green design. There are four achievement levels: Level 1 is 35%-54% of the total points, Level 2 is 55%-69%, Level 3 is 70%-84% and level 4 is 85-100%. Achievement levels are based on percentage rather than number of points to allow for a difference in the points total in the event there are “non-applicable” circumstances; e.g. there are no oil fired burners on site, or local codes override certain criterion.

As compared to LEED®, the credit categories are weighted based on importance as determined by the review committee and industry input. A certain percentage of points are required in each category in order to reduce/avoid “point chasing.” There are five categories where Duro-Last can directly influence points and several other areas where Duro-Last or one of our sister companies can have a somewhat indirect influence.

Section 7.2.2 Heat Island Effect

Points can be obtained for having vegetative roofing or a reflective surface with SRI of 78 or greater on various proportions of the roof deck.

Section 8 Energy

Points can be obtained using either a Performance Design path or a Prescriptive Design Path. Duro-Last can help with section 8.2.3 Power Demand Reduction. Above deck insulation can help with section 8.4.1 Thermal Resistance and Transmittance.

Section 10.1.2 Materials Content Assemblies

Points can be obtained when pre or post-consumer recycled content of an assembly accounts for 1% or more of building materials. Number of points achieved goes up with higher percentages.

Section 10.1.4 Transportation of Processed or Manufactured Materials

Points can be obtained when 1% or more of materials and products used in the building were processed or manufactured within 500 miles or if shipped by rail or water within 1500 miles. The number of points allowed goes up with greater percentages.

Section10.7.1.1 Roofing Membrane Assemblies and Systems (and) Section Flashings

Points can be obtained by installing according to manufacturer’s recommendations and inspecting according to:

  1. ARMA/NRCA Manual for Roof Inspection
  2. SPRI/NRCA Manual for Roof Inspection
  3. SMACNA’s Architectural Sheet Metal Manual

In most instances, by installing a white Duro-Last roof according to our standards and performing the approved inspections, we can help directly with obtaining as many as 16 points and indirectly with several more. When there are as many as 1000 total points, that doesn’t sound like a lot. But there are so many categories and options that no one action or product can have an overwhelming influence.

All in all, the standard was well done, is easy to use and in general is a much better product than LEED which is not a recognized green design standard. When GBI gets the standard consolidated with its online Green Globes it should be even more user-friendly.

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 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

PVC Roofing

Noted roofing authority, Richard L. Fricklas, discusses PVC roofing in Buildings Magazine’s December 2009 Newsletter.

For the last year, attention seems to be more on cool roofing, LEED, and vegetated roofs rather than what the roofing system is made of or what it can do. Maybe because current roofing systems are all well established, so they’re no longer newsworthy? Several claims are being made as to which manufacturer has lowest carbon footprint and which products are truly recyclable.

To read the full article click on the link below.

PVC Roofing

Posted using ShareThis

Frequently Asked Questions about PVC Roofing Systems: Part 2

Q: How are PVC roofing systems sustainable?

A: More than 26 Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) confirm that PVC roofing membranes are an outstanding sustainable choice for many reasons:

  1. Energy efficiency.
  2. Mitigation of urban heat islands that cause elevated levels of air pollution.
  3. Waste reduction throughout their life cycle: production, shipment, installation, post-consumer disposal.
  • Only 43 percent of PVC membrane composition is derived from nonrenewable fossil fuel feedstocks, compared with other single-ply and built-up systems that contain a much higher percentage.
  • PCV requires less energy to produce than competitive products.
  • They typically last for 20 to 30 years, reducing the rate of waste flow into landfills.
  • There is virtually no scrap in PVC roof manufacturing or installation.
  • PVC roofs can often be installed directly over old roofs.
  • Many PVC roof manufacturers have post-use recycling programs.
  • PVC roofing membranes are inherently recyclable, and are the only roofing material that can be recycled back into roofing products.
  1. Extremely low contribution to greenhouse gases and hazardous emissions, due to closed-loop manufacturing.
  2. There are at least 10 categories in which white PVC roofing systems can help earn points under the LEED® rating systems.

Q: Why do PVC roofing systems last so long?

A: Among the reasons that PVC roofing systems typically last between 20 and 30 years with very little maintenance are the following:

  1. Reflective properties extend the useful life of the roof substrate materials by reducing the rate of deterioration by as much as 75 percent.
  2. Waterproof characteristics that prevent PVC from rotting, rusting or corroding.
  3. Custom prefabricated systems from some manufacturers that help ensure optimal installation and long-term performance.
  4. Heat-welding properties that create seams that are stronger than the membrane itself while eliminating the need for chemicals, torches or other hazardous installation methods.
  5. Inherent flame resistance strengthened by the addition of flame retardant additives, which facilitates Underwriters Laboratories Class A ratings and Factory Mutual Class 1 ratings.
  6. High resistance to chemicals, grease, and other harmful substances that is common on rooftops.
  7. Simple repair procedures normally accomplished by heat-welded patches or seams.

Setting The Bar For Sustainability

Numerous terms and ideas are used to describe products, processes and techniques that are said to be sustainable or provide high performance. Terms such as “green,” “environmentally-friendly,” “recyclable” and “long life-cycle” attempt to define the concept of sustainability. But what really is sustainability? How do you determine whether a product is truly sustainable or not?

Along with the growth of green design programs such as LEED® and Green Globes, there have been efforts by state and local governments to add sustainability guidelines to building codes. The federal government has indicated it plans to add green design guidelines to its building requirements as well.

Guidelines for many performance criteria are established based on standards. There are ANSI standards for PVC sheet roofing, for measuring emittance and for calculating a solar reflectance index. There are LEED standards that attempt to set the bar for high performance building design and construction. There are standards for wind loads and for material strength and thickness. Sustainability standards already exist for a few building products, but not for single-ply roofing. Without specific, complete standards for single-ply roofing, PVC-based products could become part of a broad category that would not accurately or effectively present the complete green picture for vinyl roofing.

The Vinyl Roofing Division of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association has undertaken an ambitious effort to develop and obtain approval for an ASTM standard for Sustainable Thermoplastic and Thermoset Single-Ply Membrane Roofing. The process is anticipated to take another 6 – 12 months, but in the end the standard will provide solid guidelines as to what constitutes a sustainable single-ply roofing system. Stay tuned for updates as the project progresses.

What We Mean When We Say Green

The term “green roof” has become narrowly defined in recent years to refer to “vegetative roof.” But “green roof” can also mean “sustainable roof” – one that provides long-term environmental benefits that building owners want roofing systems to deliver for their high-performance facilities: high reflectivity; recyclability; able to accommodate photovoltaic systems; able to help facilities obtain LEED credits; etc. This brief video discusses these benefits and more. For additional information about green roofing, visit


What Attributes Of A Duro-Last® Roof Can Help With LEED® Ratings?

The U.S. Green Building Council has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System to help in the design and construction of buildings that have minimum negative impact on occupants and the environment. LEED provides standards for choosing products based on environmental attributes. LEED does not certify materials or products.

So what are the attributes of a Duro-Last roof that can help with soon-to-be enacted changes to LEED-NC ratings?



ENERGY STAR® labeled product with a Solar Reflectance Index equal to or greater than 78 (Duro-Last is 110) Sustainable Sites Credits 7.2
Exceeds ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1
Extend the lifecycle of an existing structure, reduce the load on air conditioning units, and reduce a buildings impact on the environment. Materials & Resources Credits 1.1 & 1.2
Custom prefabrication eliminates waste at the jobsite, scrap and trim are 100% recyclable, with four manufacturing facilities requiring less than 500 miles of shipping. Materials & Resources Credits 2.1 – 2.2, 4.1 – 4.2, 5.1 – 5.2
Two-way vent system keeps negative air pressures and condensation in check, high reflectivity keeps building cooler. Indoor Environmental Quality Credits 2 and 7.1

All in all, Duro-Last Cool Zone® can help with obtaining 13 – 31 points toward the minimum LEED certification of 40 – 49 points.