Sustainable Building Envelope Asset Management

Sustainable Building Envelope Asset Management

08/30/2021

Sustainable Building Envelope

Sustainability in the simplest sense is “the ability to be maintained at a certain level.” It’s also about meeting needs in the present without compromising the future. When you hear the word sustainability, you may associate it with “green” initiatives, and you’re not wrong in doing so. But at Technical Assurance, we focus on sustainability in the simplest sense—making things last longer.

We can help clients from nearly any industry meet their sustainability goals. For example, schools often have district-wide sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing their environmental footprint. Technical Assurance helps meet those initiatives by reducing the amount of construction materials going into landfills.

In fact, the last step of our Five Steps to Sustainability Process is sustainability itself—to implement life extension measures that will ultimately reduce the Total Cost of Ownership. This includes warranty management and predictive and preventative maintenance programs to ensure continuity and sustainability of the entire process.

  • Building System Asset Database Management
  • Predictive & Preventative Maintenance Program Management
  • Deficiency Repair Management
  • Warranty Program Management
  • Maintenance Management
  • Program Sustainability Measures & Management

Environmental Impact of Roof Replacement Projects

The EPA estimates that between 230 to 530 million tons of construction and demolition waste go into our landfills every year. Roofing materials make up around 20% of total construction waste (Source). When a full roof replacement is needed, the old materials are torn away and typically hauled off to a landfill. Ongoing repairs and preventative maintenance measures involve much less waste and allow you to extend the life of your roof system before replacement is needed.

When repairs and maintenance are approached programmatically and performed regularly, Technical Assurance has helped clients eliminate one roof replacement over the life of a building. Not only does this save clients capital dollars—millions of dollars in some cases—but it also decreases the waste that would have been used during the replacement.

If replacement is necessary, there are ways to reduce the environmental impact of the old roofing materials. Many roofing material manufacturers are initiating recycling programs for contractors to help recycle used material. A great example of a roof recycling program is From Roofs to Roads, which recycles old asphalt shingles into paving material for roads.

Create a Project and Budget Roadmap

In order to truly implement a sustainable facility management program, you must create a roadmap that shows what you want to see in the five (5), ten (10) or fifteen (15) years ahead.

In our programmatic approach to building envelope asset management, we look at the entire portfolio to assess and establish a condition baseline. We then create a project and budget roadmap to identify design and construction solutions to maximize performance and savings for our clients. All of this happens in one centralized platform—ON-PNT®.

Implement a Preventative Maintenance Plan

Storms and floods cause around $9 billion in losses to commercial businesses annually, with roof systems among the most affected structures. Needed repairs are likely to be more extensive if you’ve neglected regular inspections, repairs and preventative maintenance over the years. On the less extreme side of the situation, the building envelope experiences regular wear and tear every day from UV exposure, moderate weather like rain and wind and more. The natural degradation of any building asset is inevitable, but there are measures you can take to help manage damage on a regular basis.

By implementing a preventative maintenance plan for your facilities, you can get ahead of repairs before they become larger, more labor- and capital-intensive projects. This also helps extend the life of your roof system by maintaining its condition and maximizing its performance. Small repairs over time retain structural integrity, allowing you to stave off the need for a complete roof system overhaul (replacement project).

Learn more about our roof preventative maintenance checklist.

Case Study: Fortune 500 Client

A Fortune 500 Company had plans to replace $5 million in roof systems at one of their western US plant sites. After performing an initial assessment at their site, we found that only a portion of their roof sections required a complete replacement, while other sections still had useful life opportunities—provided a complete roof repair and restoration program was implemented immediately, along with annual roof maintenance.

We pivoted to think about what could be done to extend the life of their assets while saving them money.

You can read the full case study here.

Sustainable Design Considerations

While there’s no way to stop the environmental factors that cause wear and tear on your roof systems, there are some design considerations that can help protect the roof and extend its lifespan. What if you could make your roof system last 45 years instead of the typical 17-20 years?

Roof Coatings

This is a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to protect your roof from harsh weather and UV light. Coatings can save the integrity of your roof system and may also provide significant energy savings. Roof coatings are typically made of high-quality resins with elastic properties. Think of it like a thick paint with a high solids content. Once cured, the coating retains elasticity in order to bridge tiny membrane seams or cracks and provide superior waterproofing capabilities.

The most popular types of roof coatings are acrylic, asphalt, polyurethane and silicone. There are also reflective coatings intended to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it. According to FacilitiesNet, “An uncoated, black roof absorbs between 70 and 80 percent of the solar energy that strikes it. When a white or light-colored coating is applied, the solar absorption rate decreases to 20 to 30 percent.”

Roof coatings are ideal for:

  • Reducing heat impact
    • “With the right coating, both your roof and the interior temperature of your building can be decreased by up to 10 degrees.” (Source)
  • Lowering energy bills
  • Improving the structural integrity of your roof
  • Extending the lifespan of your roof

Extend the Life of Your Roof System

Interested in partnering with Technical Assurance to extend the life of your roof system? We can help you get on the right track to meeting your sustainability goals while also reducing total cost of ownership.

Talk to us to find out how!