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Home / Annual Commercial Roof Replacement Costs and Energy Losses Through the Roof System

Annual Commercial Roof Replacement Costs and Energy Losses Through the Roof System

Dating back to the 1970’s researchers, professional engineers, commercial building and roof system manufacturers, energy specialists and testing & HVAC societies such as ASTM and ASHRAE have joined ranks in their purpose to codify, evaluate, analyze and understand moisture migration in commercial building envelopes.  There have been a myriad of symposiums, conferences and technical seminars on this subject over the last four decades.  Additionally, a significant number of research activities have been pursued at federal agencies such as DOE & ORNL, institutional and academic facilities and in the private sector.  This research has led to a preponderance of technical: publications, papers, studies and databases.

From this body of work it has become quite evident that the commercial roofing industry and commercial building owners in the U.S. have an opportunity to maximize roof life expectancies, substantially reduce premature capital expenditures through the mitigation of destructive moisture infiltration in the building envelope and specifically the roof system.

What researchers, buildings professionals, engineers & associated studies have concluded:

“Moisture in low-slope roofing is a multibillion dollar problem for the U.S. Roofing industry.  It is estimated that energy losses through roofs in the U.S. are increased by 70% because of the loss of insulation’s thermal resistance due to moisture contamination.” 
Andre’ O. Desjarlais – ORNL – Paper on “Predicting Moisture Problems in Low-Slope Roofing”

“Moisture accumulation in roof systems can create a number of costly problems, including dripping, accelerated insulation and membrane/substrate failure, the threat of roof structural deterioration, depreciation of assets and poor thermal performance.  Moisture accumulation can severely impact the thermal performance of insulation in a roof system.” 
Nan Byars – University of North Carolina @ Charlotte - 4th International Symposium on Roofing Technology

“Moisture intrusion is the major reason why low-slope roofing systems fail prematurely.” 
Andre’ O. Desjarlais – ORNL – Thermal Envelopes

“North American market for Commercial Roofing Materials to be worth about $6 billion dollars in 2014, not including installation”
Commercial Roofing Market Survey – 2013

"Estimates are that North American Low Slope Roofing Market exceeded 3 billion sq.ft. of re-roofing in the commercial arena” 
Roofing Industry Consensus Data - 2013

For those who are interested, and technically minded, the following papers and studies may be of interest to you:

Tens of Billions of dollars are spent annually on roof replacements of which many are due to shortened live spans related to moisture infiltration.  Energy losses due to moisture laden roofing insulation are not trivial.  Studies have suggested that between 12% and 20% of energy consumption in commercial buildings is through the roof system equating to tens of billions of dollars annually.

Suffice it to say that mitigating moisture infiltration through the commercial buildings roof system should be a high priority on the minds of maintenance personnel, facility managers, building owners and finance folks within a company’s organization.  The numbers speck for themselves.