Climate change has become an increasingly hot topic in the recent months and years, both in science and in popular culture and the media. Almost any time you turn on the news, there is a story related to a new scientific report, a proposed plan, or an intense storm wreaking havoc somewhere in the world, While there are many sides to the climate debate, one thing is becoming clear – it is something that may directly affect the vast majority of U.S. industries in a variety of ways, and we are just beginning to catch a glimpse of what that may look like.
When it comes to potential industry shifts due to climate change, the roofing industry is no exception. Industry shifts will most likely center around one of two categories: Damage Mitigation and Environmental Impact.
One of the markers of climate change is that weather patterns intensify. Whether this is heat, wind, rain or storms, it has negative implications for homes and roofs. As a result, it is quite likely that as weather patterns continue to intensify, the roofing industry will continue to adapt with innovative materials and installation techniques.
Temperatures are rising and don’t appear to be stopping, according to climate studies done by NASA. As temperatures rise, it can spell bad news for your roof. Heat damage is actually a common phenomenon that professional roofing companies see on a regular basis.
Heat damage to a roof occurs primarily when there is inadequate ventilation in the attic and roof of the home. Ventilation is made up of a series of intake and exhaust vents that work to create an airflow throughout the roofing system that helps to remove heat and moisture from the attic. When there is a lack of proper ventilation, the roof is susceptible to a phenomenon called superheating, which happens when excessive heat and moisture become trapped in the roofing system and cause the roof to overheat.
When the roofing system gets superheated, it can have a devastating effect on the shingles – sometimes as soon as within the year of installation. The extreme temperatures can cause pockets of moisture trapped within the asphalt shingles to expand and blister.
As these blisters bubble up, they cause the granules on the outer layer of the shingle to pop off, exposing the underlying material to UV rays and direct sunlight. Over time, these blisters will continue to expand, and begin to impact the effectiveness of the shingles, leading to a shortened lifespan of the roof, as well as leaks and weather damage.
Another impact of climate change is an increase in the prevalence of strong storms. With storms often come high winds, and high winds can cause extensive damage to roofs. Wind damage occurs when high winds don’t hit your roof evenly across the surface (this happens in the vast majority of cases). The corners, edges and ridge line of the roof are particularly vulnerable to wind damage. When the wind blows across the roof, they can “catch” on the corner or a small piece of shingle and cause it to lift or curl, or rip it off completely. Lifted, curled, or ripped shingles leave your roof more exposed to the elements, and leave it susceptible to leaks and water damage.
A third implication of climate change is rainy weather. When your roof is exposed to lots of heavy rains, over time it can become susceptible to water damage. Leaks and water stains are the most common ways to identify the presence of water damage. Often these can be found in the attic space of a home, or, as the damage progresses, the water intrusion can make it completely into the living space. Other signs of water damage are missing or damaged shingles, streaky shingles, the presence of shingle debris in the gutters, or spongy roof decking after a rainstorm.
As climate change becomes more of a reality, the roofing industry, like many other industries, will have to adapt. While it is impossible to predict exactly what will happen in the future, current trends suggest that some shifts may occur in the future.
The first change that may hit the roofing industry are mandates. With the release of Joe Biden’s new Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, and his proposed mandates toward clean and renewable energy, it is quite possible that the roofing industry will start to see a push toward renewable energy, and recycled and green roofing materials, such as solar panels, metal roofs or green roofs.
If these mandates do come into play, it is very possible that we will see a shift in the popularity of certain roofing materials. Currently, asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in North America, and have been for decades. However, there are multiple recyclable, sustainable, and green roofing materials that have been gaining popularity in recent years. A shift toward renewable energy may result in a shift away from shingles and toward other roofing materials.
Another direction the roofing industry may go is innovation. Already, there are manufacturers working to develop cutting edge shingle and other roofing material technology and stay at the forefront of innovation. If the world continues to shift toward green and renewable energy, the roofing industry will continue to innovate and develop accessible
At Cenvar Roofing we value looking ahead into the future and staying at the forefront of innovation in our industry. We primarily source our shingles from Owens Corning, one of the largest, most innovative roofing material manufacturers, and have gained platinum status within their organization. If you have questions about innovative roofing materials and would like to schedule a further conversation with a member of our sales team, we would be happy to discuss your options with you. Please visit our website to find the location nearest to you, and schedule an appointment.