Roofing Manufacturers and Contractors Embrace Recycling

In the early 2000s, as the green-building movement reached its tipping point, the roofing industry’s contributions to sustainability focused on increasing energy efficiency, improving long-term durability and addressing the heat-island effect. In the years since, significant strides have been made in all three of these areas for commercial and residential buildings.

In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the benefits and challenges of recycling roofing materials at the end of their useful life. This is no trivial task: Owens Corning estimates asphalt shingles alone comprise up to 5 percent of building-related landfill waste. This doesn’t take into account other roofing materials, including EPDM, thermoplastic PVC and metal.

Not surprisingly, rising removal costs, coupled with the growing demand in some areas of the country to legislate landfill content, are putting pressure on contractors and building owners to seek alternatives to traditional roof construction scrap and tear-off disposal methods.

In response, greater numbers of roofing manufacturers and contractors are driving strategies to avoid the landfill. A general review of emerging trends across the roofing industry suggests manufacturers and contractors increasingly are turning to recycling to steer these materials from the waste stream.

Steel is the most recycled material in building construction today. PHOTO: STEEL RECYCLING INSTITUTE

Steel is the most recycled material in building construction today. PHOTO: STEEL RECYCLING INSTITUTE

METAL

Metal roofing’s sustainable attributes are significant. Industry experts cite its ability to improve a building’s energy efficiency, and metal today contains anywhere from 25 to 95 percent recycled material.

On its website, the Chicago-based Metal Construction Association (MCA) encourages installing metal roofing directly over an existing roof, thus eliminating the need to dispose of the original materials. But when an older metal roof or new-construction debris must be removed from a site, contractors and owners in most regions of the country can quickly identify scrap yards that take metal.

“Steel is the most recycled material in building construction today,” says MCA Technical Director Scott Kriner. “There’s an infrastructure that supports it, and metal in general is virtually 100 percent recyclable.” Kriner notes MCA supports recycling as part of the metal industry’s overall commitment to environmental sustainability and transparency in business.

PVC

PVC has been used in roofing systems since the 1960s, and the post-consumer recycling of roof membranes began in North America in 1999—a nice symmetry when one considers roofs in terms of 30-year life cycles.

In general terms, the recycling of PVC roofing is a relatively straightforward process. The material is sliced into long strips, rolled up, lifted off the roof and transported to a recycling center. Recyclers run the PVC through a conveyor system, where fasteners and other metal objects are removed.

Initially, the recovered membrane was ground into powder for reuse in molded roof walkway pads. More recently, some manufacturers have been incorporating a granulated form into new PVC roofing membranes, exclusively on the backside to avoid aesthetic issues with color variations. The first installations of membrane produced with post-consumer recycled composition occurred in the mid-1990s. So far, its field performance has matched that of PVC roofing produced with virgin raw materials.

The Vinyl Institute, Alexandria, Va., says close to 1 billion pounds of vinyl are recycled at the postindustrial level yearly. “The vinyl industry has a history of supporting recycling,” the institute reports on its website, “and this effort continues as companies, alone and through their trade associations, expand existing programs and explore new opportunities to recover vinyl products at the end of their useful life.”

EPDM

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer is used extensively on low-slope commercial buildings. Yet even this durable synthetic rubber membrane must eventually be replaced, and today recycling is a viable option.

The removal process generally involves power-vacuuming off the stone ballast, where present, to expose the EPDM membrane below. The membrane can then be cut into manageable squares, which are folded and stacked on pallets, loaded onto a truck and transported for recycling. The recycler grinds it into crumbs or powder, depending on the end use. A growing number of recycling centers nationwide now handles EPDM.

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Palram Americas Announces New Website

Palram Americas, a manufacturer of polycarbonate and PVC product lines, is pleased to announce a new website design. This new design, which is more closely aligned with the global corporate website, includes many new features. Users will experience new advanced product search tools, more streamlined product information, and may also delve deeper into technical information, including a new installation video for Palram’s corrugated DIY products.

“Palram is a diverse company with products in many different markets, creating a challenge to fully serve each of those markets within a single website,” stated Stan Schultz, Director of Marketing at Palram Americas. “This new design ensures a more user-friendly experience for all of our customers across all markets. Furthermore, our new development platform will allow us to more easily add new features and web-based tools in the future.”

System Attaches Equipment to TPO and PVC Membranes

OMG Roofing Products has introduced the PowerGrip Plus Roof Mount System

OMG Roofing Products has introduced the PowerGrip Plus Roof Mount System.

OMG Roofing Products has introduced the PowerGrip Plus Roof Mount System, a watertight structural attachment used to secure ballasted solar racks and other equipment to roofs covered with TPO and PVC membranes. PowerGrip Plus is designed with wind performance in mind and offers ultimate tensile strength of 2,000 pounds per foot and ultimate shear strength of 1,075 pounds per foot. A wide membrane skirt promotes easy welding in place, and the 15/8 diameter and 1/2-inch-tall mount provides a perch for securing brackets or struts.

Exterior Soffit Material Is Lightweight PVC

Zip-UP Ceiling finishing system

Zip-UP Ceiling finishing system

Zip-UP Ceiling finishing system is a game-changer for finishing the underside of exterior soffits at schools, hospitals, airports and commercial facilities. Zip-UP Ceiling is made from extremely sturdy lightweight PVC components and sports a long life cycle and low maintenance.

Testing for wind pressure, under static load and cyclic load, was performed in accordance with the requirements of the Florida Building Code (High Velocity Hurricane Zone) and the product meets every Florida standard for static and cyclic load tests of hurricane strength winds. The Static Load Test (TAS 202) is performed, in several ascending stages, under test conditions that eventually meet -110 psf design pressure for a prescribed length of time. The Cyclic Load Test (TAS 203) tests under various alternating positive/negative pressures for 631 cycles.

Made from durable interlocking PVC components engineered to fit together easily, Zip-UP Ceiling provides a flat, clean, grid-free washable mildew and mold resistant paintable ceiling surface. The panels unzip for quick access to mechanical and electrical services in the soffit. Zip-UP Ceiling is rust-free and can be cleaned with a garden hose.

Zip-UP Ceiling installs easily with just a few tools. The screw-in and zip-in-place system uses just a few components, including a main rail, foot-wide panels that are the visible surface of the system, and a hurricane L channel that supports the main rail.

Zip-UP Ceiling is available in three finishes, sand pebble (embossed), serrated and smooth, in white and in beige. The main rails and panels are available in 12- and 16-foot lengths.

The manufacturer warrants that the system is free from defects, materials and workmanship for 25 years from the date of purchase and that the components will continue to zip together for that time.