Rooftop solar installations and vegetative roofs are becoming popular with commercial and industrial building owners. These options have gained popularity because they can benefit the facility, tenant, or owner. A few of these benefits include minimizing energy costs, increasing marketability, and adding usable space. Developing a project with this many intricacies requires detailed review of the structure and all associated components.
Often the design of one of these systems is the product of a financier, electrician, or architect. No two buildings are alike so each design must be truly unique to that facility. These one-of-a kind creations result in designers and owners unknowingly overlooking items that affect the lifecycle cost of the installation. We often find that the roof system itself is ignored during the initial project design. Please consider the following questions when/if you are thinking about adding a rooftop solar installation or vegetative roof to your building:
- Has a licensed structural engineer reviewed the building to verify that the added weight of your installation will not result in damage to the facility?
- Are the components of the installation (solar panels, inverters, etc.) covered under your insurance policy or is additional coverage needed?
- Is the installation of a new roof included as part of the project? If not, should it be?
- Is the roof system compatible with the type of product that is being installed?
- How will the manufacturer’s roof system warranty be affected by the installation?
- If a new roof is not installed, how many more years will the existing roof perform?
- What is the cost to remove the new installation components to access the roof for repairs, add penetrations, etc.?
- What is the anticipated lifecycle of the new installation versus the roof system, i.e. will the installation out perform the roof?
- Has a maintenance plan been designed to help support the rooftop components?
- How will roof leaks be detected and located once the installation is in place?
We recommend involving a roof design professional such as you preferred roof consultant during the design process to help resolve these often overlooked questions. It is much easier and less expensive to resolve issues prior to installation of the new system. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your next project.