In a general sense, sustainable roofing is designed for longevity in a variety of rooftop environments. Some roofing membranes, as well as accessories like adhesives and insulation, now consist of renewable resources and recycled content.


Contractors consider both the long-term cost of a commercial roof’s performance and its impact on the structure that it is protecting. Current sustainability trends in the commercial roofing industry include:


●        Green building codes and rating systems such as LEED

●        Roofing materials recycling

●        Cool roofing with lighter colors

●        Solar-ready roofing even if you are not installing solar panels

●        Green roofing ideas and implementation

Understanding What is Meant by ‘Sustainability’

It is important to note that the actual science behind sustainability and finding a consensus in its meaning and application across the entire industry is still in its earliest stages. Subsequently, it leaves contractors, clients, and culture open to an endless gamut of interpretations for roofing material and design.


Sustainability does not in any way suggest that we destroy all current roofing elements and go back to living in huts. Instead, the purpose of sustainability that most industry professionals can agree on is finding a roof’s capacity to endure by cutting down on material usage, waste, construction costs, and resource consumption.

Stages of Sustainable Roof Construction

Creating a sustainable roofing system requires careful planning, material selection, analysis, and implementation. The process occurs in stages:


Design includes project specifications, concept development, and early-stage analysis. Architects and contract consider the ‘big’ issues such as environmental impact, building performance, energy efficiency, maintenance reduction, drainage, and thermal transference, and longevity. Designers also consider what will happen when the roof reaches the end of its expected lifespan.


All raw materials come from a natural source. The natural resources we select for products, the quantities we use, and the methods we use to harvest them have an impacts on the environment. Minimizing the number of natural resources used in roofing materials creates a more sustainable product. On the hand, synthetic materials require chemicals and other harmful substances and produce more waste that causes land, water, and air pollution.


The selection of materials and the approach required to install a roofing system contribute to the roof system’s sustainability. For a roof to be sustainable, it requires the least intrusive inputs (such as a ballasted roofing system) and components that will not contaminate the membrane. A sustainable roof can also be taken apart and replaced with little to no complication or damage to the roof itself.

Roof Lifespan

All roofing materials have a life expectancy. How long will the product serve its intended function? How long a roof lasts has an immeasurable impact on the environment, raw material consumption, roofing costs, building efficiency, and construction costs — any entity associated with roofing.


Building owners receive the most significant benefit from long-lasting roofs due to lower replacement costs. Building owners do play a role in ensuring that their roof reaches its expected lifespan by scheduling professional inspections and maintenance as specified by the roofing manufacturer. 

Commercial Roofing Solutions in Minneapolis

Sustainability requires that there is a balance between people, resources and the environment. In roofing, we must be mindful of all the variables in our work that impact this balance. Intelligent Design practices sustainable roofing products and encourages building owners that we work to consider viable options that will benefit their business.


To schedule a consultation with an Intelligent Design contractor, call us at 763-315-0745. You can also message us on our contact page.