One of the more neglected aspects of roofing is the positive impact it can have on a comfortable, healthy, productive environment inside buildings, where many people spend most of their days. A High-Performance Roofing system can contribute to a better indoor environment in two ways:
1. Cool, green and perhaps solar-integrated HPR systems help to moderate indoor temperatures, even in buildings without air conditioning. A number of studies have shown a direct relationship between thermal comfort and worker productivity in offices and manufacturing facilities. Comfortable indoor temperatures have been shown to improve overall mental concentration, manual work rates, and manual dexterity, while reducing accident rates and absenteeism.
- A study in 1962 determined that work performance involving machine operation and high levels of physical activity dropped by ten percent at 84°F, and by 38 percent at 95°F.
- A 1996 study concluded that productivity could be increased using passive cooling techniques, such as cool roofing.
- Another study in 1999 estimated that thermal comfort and other physical conditions could help increase productivity by up to 15 percent.
- Even cows are more productive when they’re more comfortable. Artique Farms, Ltd., Chilliwack, British Columbia, recently discovered that a new PVC single-ply cool roof installed over its 31,000 square foot milk production barn lowered temperatures dramatically during summer months. This resulted in much healthier, happier cows, and significantly higher milk production, even with a smaller herd. After saving $22,000 in energy bills during the first six months, Artique owner John Wynker estimated that reduced use of his large barn fans and higher milk production would pay for the new roof within two and a half years.
2. Vented roofing systems can help reduce moisture and mold while relieving positive air pressure, allowing buildings to “breathe.”
- One-way and two-way vents were originally installed on mechanically fastened roofing systems to allow moisture that accumulates between the roofing membrane and the roof deck to evaporate. The reduction of potentially toxic molds and the release of positive air pressure are, in effect, fringe benefits that contribute to a healthy indoor environment.
- A study by the Army Corps of Engineers at the Cold Regions Research Laboratory concluded that two-way roofing vents were more effective than one-way vents for moisture evaporation.
- Increased circulation of indoor air is one of the key methods for preventing “sick building” syndrome – the accumulation of unhealthy or toxic particles in the air.
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