PVC Roofing – Sustainable and Environmentally Safe Choice

Intro on Eco-friendliness of PVC Roofing:

It is not a secret that PVC, or polyvinyl chloride will never be good enough for the hard core environmentalists, and it is not my goal to change their view of PVC for the better. Instead, I would like to demonstrate how the use of PVC in residential and commercial roofing is good not only for homes and commercial buildings along with their occupants, but also for the environment.


Original Post Background and Update Details:


This post was originally, published on January 19th, 2009, and this is a refresh and an update of the earlier post. Please note that although this post has been polished a bit, all the content along with any claims, arguments, and points of view that post authors have expressed in the previous post have remained unchanged. Further, all the comments that this “controversial” post has received are still relevant today, and can be read below the post.


Here is what the Big shots in the likes of Green Peace have to say:

Before we dive into the environmental benefits of PVCs roofs, let’s hear what prominent, PVC-opposed minds have to say, and see if their argument really holds much ground…

Greenpeace reference to PVC as Poison Plastic – although somewhat biased and subjective, this view represents a general view of the green community towards PVC. My goal is not to prove that PVC is good or bad, but rather, to demonstrate that in a real world, PVC roofing has a lot more positive effects on the environment vs. other far more prominent flat and low slopped roofing systems.

In Lieu of Prologue:

In the fall of 2008, I was taking a Solar Training class at RI Community College and one of my classmates had a Bio-Diesel conversion done on his Ford F-250. At the time, He needed a bed-cover for his truck, so I offered him to use a spare piece of PVC roofing membrane that I had left over from a job we previously completed. From a practical perspective, a 6 by 6 feet piece of grey IB PVC membrane would work perfectly as a truck bed cover, so we agreed that I’d bring it to our next class, and that I would help him install it.

Before we actually had a chance to get it done, Mark has called me up saying that PVC is extremely toxic, bad for the environment, and that his wife was greatly opposed to the idea of him using PVC membrane to protect the bed liner in his truck!

Needless to say, I was shocked upon hearing this! For as long as I have been in the roofing business, installing cool flat roofs and green metal roofing systems, I have always held a view that PVC roofing is as Eco-friendly as it ever gets, compared to the rest of roofing products used in the industry. The reaction of Mark’s wife has prompted me to really go ahead, research, and examine environmental factors concerning PVC roofing. This article is a summary of my analysis of the impact that PVC roofing has on the environment, and I am going to do my best to objectively show, and compare positives and negatives of PVC roofing.:

Note: For comparison purposes, I am going to use a PVC flat roofing membrane produced by IB roof systems based out of Eugine, Oregon. Bear in mind that IB uses their own, proprietary formulation which they also call CPA, or “co-polymer alloy”, which is kept as a trade secret.

What is PVC?

In simple words, PVC is one of the most-commonly used type of plastics in the world. There are many reasons why PVC is so popular among all the other plastics. It’s due to the fact that PVC is generally cheaper than many other plastics, and thanks to its incredible durability. Unlike many other plastics that are essentially made of 100% fossil fuels, PVC is made of only about 50% fossil fuel, namely natural gas or methane. The second half is chlorine, a gas that is a main component of rock-salt.

Chemical Composition of PVC:

Vinyl is essentially derived from two simple ingredients: fossil fuel and salt. Petroleum, or natural gas is processed to make ethylene, and salt is subjected to electrolysis to separate out the natural element chlorine. Ethylene and chlorine are combined to produce ethylene dichloride (EDC), which is further processed into a gas called vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). In the next step, known as polymerization, the VCM molecule forms chains, converting the gas into a fine, white powder called vinyl resin, which becomes the basis for the final process, compounding. In compounding, vinyl resin may be blended with additives such as plasticizers for flexibility, stabilizers for durability and pigments for color.

Through various plastics processing operations, manufacturers are able to offer versatile products with customized performance characteristics.

What is PVC Roofing?

PVC roof is a single-ply membrane that consist of two plies or layers of PVC material with a polyester reinforcement scrim between the layers. Top ply has special additives to make the membrane UV stable and prevent curing, and plasticizers to make it flexible, and pigments for color. IB also uses a layer of acrylic coating to make their roof more reflective, and to help repel dirt and dust. Bottom ply is a black PVC with plasticizers for flexibility and usually no other additives or fillers.

During the installation, PVC roofing membrane sheets are connected together by using hot-air welding (fusion welding) of seams, which creates a permanent physical bond between two separate sheets of roofing membrane. This hot-air welding process is what makes PVC roofing such a great roofing product – it can remain water-tight and pliable for decades after the originally installation.

Negative side of PVC: Greenpeace, toxic waste and dioxins, plasticizers, etc.

PVC is poison plastic

According to Greenpeace, during the PVC production, use, disposal and/or accidental burning, numerous dangerous and toxic chemicals are produced and/or emitted. Among them Dioxins, some forms of which are know as human carcinogen and can cause or accelerate cancer. Also, in order to make PVC flexible, a plasticizer called phthalate is added. Greenpeace claims that Phthalate is a major health risk, and can be one of the causes of asthma.

Dioxins: According to a study by EPA and Vinyl Institute, PVC production contributes about 0.5 % of all Dioxin emission, compared with municipal and medical incineration and metal smelting making up more than 2/3 of all dioxin emissions.

Also, bear in mind that numerous studies by EPA, FDA and other government agencies in the US, Europe and elsewhere around the world show that PVC is actually very safe for human use, during production, lifespan and recycling.

Did you know that PVC is widely used in medical and health care industry. for instance, Intro venomous (IV) liquid/blood bags and tubing are made from PVC, and are FDA approved?

Claims about PVC recycling are also ludicrous for the most part, as many PVC products are so durable, they are still in service, decades after they were produced, and will serve for many more years.

PVC Roofing recycling program by IB Roofs, recycles over 98% of old PVC membranes:

Of course there are negative sides to PVC, but instead of making this article seem like it is in defense of PVC, I would like to share arguments and facts form both sides of the isle, so you can make a more educated decision in regards to PVC products. Thus, the purpose of this article is to demonstrate the environmental benefits of PVC roofing as compared to other roofing products.

PVC reference information:

Greenpeace: PVC – Poison Plastic

CFFA: VinylRoofs.org

PVC Roofs – a Cool and Sustainable roofing choice.

Let me first establish a fact that in a flat roofing market, there is no 100% green option. The only exception would be low-slope metal roofing systems used on space metal buildings, but these cannot be use for regular flat roofs, as they will never be able to withstand ponding water.

Further, keep in mind that Cool metal roofing for pitched roofs, both residential and commercial, is a true green choice, as metals roofs that are almost always made from a metal containing a significant proportion of recycled content, can easily last in excess of 50 years, and are completely recyclable at the end of their service life.

However, for the purpose of this article, I will concentrate on flat roofs.
All flat roofing materials in use today, in on form or another, are based on fossil fuels, namely petroleum. Despite a lack of real green flat roofing options, more than half of all roofs in the world are flat, and it just so happens that no one wants their roof to leaks. Let’s review prominent, modern flat roofing choices in a greater detail:

  • EPDM – Black rubber: stands for ethylene propylene diene M-class, where ethylene and propylene are carbohydrate byproducts of oil refining, and make up about 97% of EPDM roofing membrane. EPDM is the most common type of flat roofing installed today.
  • Asphalt rolled roofs and asphalt shingles roofing: These really require no explanation, but based on heavy oil or bitumen, asphalt roofing consists of 90% pure extra-heavy oil. A fiberglass mat base is saturated with asphalt, and is coated with crushed stone to provide protection from UV. This is your typical asphalt roofing.
  • Built-up tar and gravel roofing: Contains 3 to 5 layers of heavy paper saturated in, once again, bitumen, put together with hot tar, or other methods. Covered with gravel. Usually there is a hot-asphalt kettle emitting poisonous bitumen fumes, present at the job-site for the entire neighborhood to enjoy.
  • Modified bitumen – APP and SBS: Both are pure bitumen compounds modified with either plastics (APP), or rubber compound (SBS), and reinforced with either fiberglass mats, or a polyester scrim. These rolled roofing is very thick, with ¼ inch thickness of each ply. This roof is usually installed in 2-3 ply assembly by either using a torch with an open flame to melt asphalt, which by design sticks to the substrate, or hot-mopped with liquid hot tar or asphalts, or cold-applied.
  • TPO Thermoplastic Olefin: A so-called “PVC killer” as many roofing consultants and analysts refer to it, TPO is a cool roofing alternative to PVC roofing, which was designed to be cheaper to produce than PVC, yet to it was supposed to offer the same cool roofing advantages in combination with a hot-air welding of seams installation process – This is what makes PVC such an outstanding roofing product.

PVC vs. TPO Roofs in the US:

Unfortunately, first generation of the US-made TPO roofs has failed to achieve the proven reliability of PVC, and first batches of TPO have failed after just 8-11 years of service, with isolated cases failing much faster. Read our in-depth review and comparison of PVC and TPO roofing membranes.

In the period between 1999 and 2002, all major American TPO manufacturers pulled their products “off the shelves”, and went through a major reformulation to eliminate material and weld failures associated with the first generation of the US-made TPO products. Today, most TPO roofs installed represent the 2nd generation. Still, not even the manufacturers themselves know how long they will last. Most of the 1st generation, failed TPO roofs is now quietly and peacefully contaminating our landfills, as TPO is not suitable for recycling.

Chemically, TPO is once again, completely based on fossil fuels – propylene and olefin are both carbohydrates extracted from oil. TPO also uses cheap plastic fillers as its bottom ply to achieve a minimum required thickness of ASTM standard for single ply roofing. These cheap fillers are one of the major causes of TPO failures.

All of the above flat roofing products end up in our landfills after they reach the end of their service life. Non of them are suitable for recycling. It also takes about 400 years for asphalt to naturally degrade. For modified roofing such as EPDM, APP, SBS and TPO, it will take a much longer period to degrade, and bear in mind that there are billions of square feet of Asphalt, Modified Bitumen, TPO, Tar & Gravel roofs coming to the end of their life cycle each year, in US alone. 99% of all these roofs will end up in landfills.

Cool Roofs vs. Black surface roofs.

For an average 2000 sq. ft. flat roof on a house in Boston, MA, installation of a cool roof will help reduce annual electrical costs by $160. This equals to almost 1000 kWh of electricity saved. In California, installing a cool roof on the same house would save $440 per year, or about 1500 kWh of electricity. Above calculations account for winter heat loss difference between black and cool white roofs. Also, despite the claims of black roof manufacturers, Cool roofs save a lot more money and energy as compared to black roofing products. Here is why:

  • In the winter days are almost twice as short as in the summer and sun sits very low to the horizon, so most of the passive solar heat transfer occurs through the windows – not roof.
  • In the winter, flat roofs are usually covered with snow for long periods of time, so roof color makes no difference in such situation. Also, there are more cloudy days in the winter, which further reduces potential heat absorption of a black roof in the winter.

It is estimated that cool roofs save American economy more than $3 billion annually. Now imagine if all roofs in US would suddenly become cool?

PVC – the only true green and sustainable flat roofing choice.

I say this knowing that Greenpeace and many environmentalists consider PVC a poison and that it has great opposition in the green community. So why do I call PVC a green and sustainable roofing product?

There are billions of square feet of flat roofing that has to be water tight. You have only so many alternatives, and PVC stands aside from the rest of the crowd. All other flat roofing products:

  • Require more fossil fuels as their main chemical components.
  • Use more energy in the process of extraction and manufacturing.
  • Are not recyclable, which means that millions of tones of waste roofing will go to our land fills each year.
  • Have black surface which attracts heat and transfers it inside home or building. This in return requires more energy to keep the inside temperature comfortable (this excludes TPO membranes as discussed above).
  • Have a life span that is only about a ½ of the PVC life span. This means that while 1 PVC roof is installed and serves for 30 years, saves thousands of kWh of electricity during its life-cycle, after which it gets recycled – two black surface roofs are installed, removed and dumped to the land fill.

Despite all the criticism of PVC from environmentalists, fierce competition from other, cheaper flat roofing products such as EPDM roofs, and now TPO membranes, PVC roofs continue to dominate commercial roofing market in Europe. In fact, PVC roofs hold almost 62% of Flat Roofing market share in Europe, and have gained wide acceptance and popularity in the US, where some 15 years ago, industry analysts said that PVC roofing membranes are about to disappear. Not only that, IB Roof Systems has been growing their business by at least 15-20% each year in the last 15 years in the U.S. 2007 was their best year to date – product sales grew by over 45%. In addition to just rapid expansion of their core roofing lines, IB added their SolarWise product, which integrates time-proven PVC roof with Uni-Solar thin-film photovoltaic laminates to create a true, roof integrate solar PV system. There are other PVC manufacturers out there that also use their very popular PVC roof with UniSolar PV laminates to achieve a great combination of cool, energy saving roof and electricity generating Solar Panels.

PVC Integrated Solar Roofing:

IB and other PVC membrane is also perfect for Green roofs, as they are environmentally safe and remains watertight for decades. This eliminates a need for removal of the roof vegetation, and soil when the aging roof begins to leak.

Hardcore environmentalists and PVC roofs – instead of conclusion:

So before you bash PVC roofing as being poisonous, toxic, bad for environment, etc. – answer a question: “which (flat) roof would you choose for your own home?”

Would you pick an all petroleum based roof that would end up in a dump in 10-15 years, and would keep on polluting, or would you opt out for a sustainable roofing membrane that keeps your building cooler, and greatly reduces the amounts of CO2 and other green house gas emissions; a roofing system that saves money and provides long lasting reliable protection for your home. Forgetting about those annoying roof leaks and expensive repairs, How is that for a peace of mind? Not to mention, that at the end of service life, which is expected to be at least 30 years (conventional flat roofs often fail in the first 10-15 years requiring complete replacement) PVC flat roofing membrane by IB roofs is 100% recyclable.

I welcome your opinions, comments and other input – please let me know what you think.


References:

www.CoolFlatRoof.com

Author Bio:

This editorial was written by Leo Biyevetskiy of Cool Flat Roof in collaboration with Aleksandr Biyevetskiy – Follow Alex on Google Plus here:
Follow Aleksandr Biyevetskiy on Google Plus

About The Naib

I formed this community in the hopes of promoting positive change. I am committed to educating and enlightening people all over the world to the growing need for change. Help me to make a difference before its too late.

59 thoughts on “PVC Roofing – Sustainable and Environmentally Safe Choice

  1. I don’t get it. This entire article is basically an advert for two companies, that I suspect are run by the writer of this article (well,, I know one of them is: <a href=”http://uk.youtube.com/user/coolflatroof” http://uk.youtube.com/user/coolflatroof) or that the writer at least has a close financial interest in.

    Surely The Sietch wouldn’t stoop so low as to allow such a blatant advert to appear on its pages. This article is a disgraceful bit of greenwash – surprising considering that one of your other writers hates that kind of thing.

    Alan

  2. I found this post informative and eye opening in regards to the use of PVC materials. I used to always think that PVC was basically a toxic material, and now I learned about pros and cons of PVC use. To Mr. Alan, before snapping with harsh remarks, I would look at the intrinsic informational value of the post. Also, it is kind of hard to believe that a guy who owns a corporation of the size of IB roofs would spend his time promoting it. What I get from it, is that an avid enthusiast of PVC roofing shared his passion and views on the use of PVC providing quite a bit of useful info about the PVC use in other areas of our lives as well. To me learning about the criticism PVC draws and the advantages it has to offer is interesting and well worth the read… And by the way great pictures and videos…

  3. The author admitted to being a commercial roofer.

    But to answer “which (flat) roof would you choose for your own home?”:
    standing seam metal.

    There is no such thing as a “true flat roof”, every flat roof has either a sloped substructure or sloped insulation to drains. Standing seam metal can and has been used in flat roofs quite successfully.

    There is an obvious bias in the author’s tone, it’s how he makes his living, selling roofing product, so there can’t help but be bias, but I see he has done his research on the membrane options out there and weighed the pros and cons of those products quite well.

    One has to ask whether flat roofs are really a green choice in general though, haven’t they?

  4. One more thing, I take exception to the sentiment behind the author using the term “hard core environmentalist” to opponents of PVC as if somehow if you oppose the manufacture and use of PVC you are somehow unreasonable or blind to the facts.

  5. I am the owner of this blog, but I welcome other opinions, if you have a problem with the articles facts, why not show us where the problems are, and present some sources so we can read them. I also don’t think PVC is the kind of material we should be using, but simply attacking this website wont make my argument seem better.

  6. To Alan,

    If you read carefully, you will find that I do NOT represent any PVC manufacturer directly, although I do use a product manufactured by one.

    I am a roofer, and I ONLY install Cool Roofs – be it a Metal Roof or a flat roof. Somewhere along the way a began to lean towards green ideas and green way of life.

    I do not sell any products – in this case PVC. I sell a service to people who want a Cool Roof. I am also confined to a geographic location which I’m able to service, so effects of this “advertisement” as you refer to, are limited to people living nearby. Trust me, there are much better ways to get biz than to spend a whole week of doing research and writing an article for TheSietch.

    However, this is not an advertisement, since I do not need to advertise – we get 3 times more biz that we can handle, and we actually just turn it down. Therefore more advertising would be just stupid.

    What this is – my analysis of flat roofing market – be it commercial or residential. It is a way to show to people like my friend Mark, that PVC is not as bad as they may believe. My point was that PVC is actually good for environment.

    PS. http://uk.youtube.com/user/coolflatroof is my YouTube channel and has no connection with the manufacturer. I created it to demonstrate my work to potential clients on my website.
    I also upload my videos from dancing competitions there. I don’t know of any commercial company having Ballroom dance videos on their roofing videos channel…

    To Andy Collier:

    Not all flat roofs can me done with standing seam. I started in the roofing biz by installing metal roofs for a large metal roofing contractor here in Mass. And I know standing seam just as well as PVC.

    Imagine an Saw-tooth roof (of which there are many here in New England, as well as other parts of the country. Now, how would you install a standing seam there, with out having it leak like a sieve?

    Structural standing seam can be installed on Low Slope roofs – such as space metal buildings: yet, a lot of them leak and we get calls all the time to fix them.

    On a almost flat or inward-pitched roof, you can not install a standing seam. There are BILLIONS of sq. ft. of “flat roofing” that needs a membrane of some sort….

    As to the hard-core environmentalists – I don’t imply that they are unreasonable. I want them to consider that PVC is an eco-friendly (IMHO) option, and this article is supposed to demonstrate just that. I want the “hard-core” folks to tell me after reading this, what they would choose for their flat roof – if they had one.

  7. Naib, I was just surprised that this article was on The sietch, otherwise it’s a great blog. Leo said, as much, that making PVC seem environmentally-friendly is in the commercial interests of his business: he is fighting those who say it is not because PVC has had a very bad press. If he wasn’t in the business of installing PVC roofing then I wouldn’t have a problem with the article, with respect to flat roofs alone, except that a “green” roof is actually one that is turfed or uses sedum which has very impressive temperature and moisture control properties (the most environmentally sustainable forms of roofing for pitched roofs, BTW, are grass / thatch, turf and slate).

  8. Leo:

    Thanks for the response Leo, I’ll admit I am not sure what you mean by sawtooth roofs though.

    And what kind of roofing did they use before EPDM or PVC on flat roofs? I contend that the right craftsmen can install standing seam on any roof PVC will install on.

    There is another option, though ridiculously expensive even compared to standing seam in bentonite membrane roofing….

    To Alan Bates:

    Virtually all the commercially applied “green roofs” you speak using actual vegetative matter has a base sheet system using PVC or EPDM so I don’t generally view them as much better than a conventional roof other than the enhanced cooling and water control.

    Heat reflective (white) PVC roofs are termed green roofs by the industry (contractors and designers), so I think Leo’s use of the term is acceptable.

    Naib:

    I agree, it’s a good article comparing the different types of man made membranes for roofing out there, and I think it was a good article to post to generate discussion.

  9. The article lost me with the line:

    “Vinyl is essentially derived from two simple ingredients: fossil fuel and salt. Petroleum or natural gas is processed to make ethylene, and salt is subjected to electrolysis to separate out the natural element chlorine.”

    It makes it all sound so innocuous, salt. Then he uses the phrase “natural element chlorine.” – the stuff doesn’t exist in a natural elemental state and is manufactured through electrolysis, using a lot of energy and any chlorine lost in the process is a serious greenhouse gas. And a serious poison. Whenever anyone uses the word “natural” in such a setting it is a red flag. The other ingredient? Fossil fuels. Need we say more?

  10. Great article. As an older Vermont hippie with a degree in environmental biology, I love the debate. As homeowner of a 150 year old schoolhouse, I am putting on a new roof this spring. Where it pitches we use metal. Where the dormer is low slope I am looking at PVC, EPDM , TPO, and modified bitumin. Damn me to enivonnental Hades, but I am not climbing up there with chunks of sod draped over my shoulder. I need something that has a maximum life span, reflects solar heat and that I can actually pay for with my cash savings. I did half-lap 20 years ago when my agility was still prime. Now I have to pay someone else. Thank you Leo for writing the most comprehensive survey I have found. PVC is getting a stonger consideration. Environmentalism is not all science, and the part that is emotion is where absurdity remains unrestricted.
    michael

  11. PVC is the ONLY single-ply material used for roofing that is recyclable after its useful life. Period. TPO is junk and we all know what happens to our tires as they sit in tire yards. Don’t let the big Corporations like Carlisle and Firestone sell you their propaganda on how TPO and EPDM are environmentally friendly and PVC is bad. Neither produce their own PVC sheet because, it is too costly to provide a quality roof to them so, instead they slander the only good single-ply option to sell their own JUNK.
    There hasn’t been a documented case of PVC being linked to any health related issues for over 20 years now. There were a couple of BAD monomer and pthalate producers who didn’t take the proper precautions to protect their employees and the area residents and that is where the uproar about PVC came from. Now that the EPA has stepped in and enforced their regulations there hasn’t been 1 case since and that’s a FACT.
    Woodworkers have a very high rate of oral and nasal cancer but, wood is looked at as completely safe. Interesting.
    Metal workers, especially welders, have a life-expectancy of 44 years old because, of the fumes emitted from welding even with the masks. Yet metal is considered safe.
    The argument about PVC is funded by Greenpeace, which in itself, is an obsolete organization and they are now trying to RE-Brand themselves through a couple different organizations being the HBN(Healthy Building Network) and the CHEJ (The Center for Health Environment & Justice). Both of these organizations claim to represent architects and consultants and chemists. None of the high ranking officials have EVER done any work in any of those fields! The only thing they have ever done in their lives is to be politically motivated activists.
    Even one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore, is the biggest opponent of Greenpeace and their satellite organizations because, of their political motivations. http://www.greenspirit.com
    Please, just stay objective and keep your eye on the FACTS and stop listening to these bloggers who speak of no factual evidence and only use their own propaganda through there multiple sites (even though they are all part of the same organization) Cradle to cradle is another one of these “pioneers” that make very serious claims against the use of PVC but, never seem to have a source to cite their claims. Even when asked.

  12. I’ve had a PVC based product on my flat roof house for 20 years now. Installed in 1989. It was manufactured by Trocal. It was installed without tapered insulation which I requested at the time but was told I didn’t need. I found out that I did need it to have optimum drainage. After the install showed excessive pooling a half assed solution of trouths were installed and the pooling decreased significantly. The Trocal product was rated for a 14 year life. The flashing is only now beginning to delaminate but the membrane is as pliable as the day it was installed. I plan on repairing the flashing with some compatible adhesive backed PVC material I found on the internet myself.

    Now for my point. I know it took a long time to get here. Sorry and it’s not quite there yet either.
    I am by no means an environmentalist but I consider myself someone who takes it into consideration more often than not when approaching projects on my house. I live right in the middle of spring fed wetlands that feed ponds and estuaries on the northeast coast and I constantly try to consider what I do at my home based on how it will affect the wetlands.

    So I haven’t repaved my road in 20 years.
    I rarely put any fertilizer or weed control down on my yard cover, I won’t call it a lawn because it’s not that picture perfect green grass lawn because of the lack of chemicals.
    I provide protective enclosures for turtle nests when I know where they are. I make sure the hatchlings are deep in the swamp in the fall after they hatch. I leave free standing dead trees for woodpeckers eagle roosts.

    I’m gonna have to do something with my road soon but don’t know what the solution will be.

    And All I know is that the pvc based roofing membrane has been a clean maintenance free solution to a dirty problem. There was 3 tar and gravel roofs on the house when I bought it and it was leaking constantly.
    We filled two 40 yard dumpsters with material waste material.
    We put 1 inch foam insulation a vapor barrier and the membrane. It has lasted over 20 years now. In my mind, based on a practical average middle income lifestyle this product can not be beat.
    Now back to the fact that I didn’t get my tapered insulation.
    Even with the standing water and dirt it collects the membrane
    has stayed functional and pliable even in winter months.
    In fact a tree limb punctured the roof during a blizard and I was able to take a patch, a heat gun and some pvc glue and fix it in the dead of winter in the middle of a storm and that patch has never come up or leaked in over 10 years.
    The fact that nothing had to be manufactured or replaced on this roof for so long is an environmental gain in itself. As for the toxicity of pvc and it’s manufacturing process. I can’t claim any knowledge of it and how it does or doesn’t affect the environment.

    So my question is, and I ask humbly… Does the pvc product leach toxins into the environment from rain runoff?
    If so what are the specific toxins?
    And if so how long does this occur and in what amounts?
    And finally what specific effects do these toxins have on the immediate environment such as the wetlands I have around my house.
    Cuase thats where the water from my rof goes.

  13. All, I am the marketing director for IB Roof Systems… Yes, the same company that Leo purchases his flat roof products from.

    I have been following this thread for a while now and would like to comment on some of the statements that were made. I can see that some of you are very passionate about the PVC subject. While I may be able to convince some of you of the many environmental benefits of PVC roofing I know that some of you may never change your mind. In either case I would like to say that we hear you and this is something that we take seriously as well. We are aware of the PVC sentiment that is out there. Some of it I agree with and others I question.

    If there was another roofing product that performed as long as our PVC membrane, was able to be recycled at the end of its useful life, continued to deliver high reflective cool properties over it’s lifetime, and could support green roof technologies such as solar and roof-top gardens, we would produce it.

    While many of the manufacturers in the roofing industry has jumped on alternative reflective roofing band wagons we have been more skeptical. The weathering farms that have tested these alternate single-ply membrane products show that half of the normal weathering surface is gone after 3 short years. That is a lot of stuff getting washed down the drain into our waterways like fire retardants and UV stabilizers. We have reports and samples taken off of 7 year old projects that are deteriorated down to the scrim reinforcement and needing to be replaced.

    Seven years is too short of a life span for any construction product to be environmentally friendly. Currently the only method of disposal for this product is landfill or incineration. We feel these methods are not conducive to our green initiatives.

    For these reasons we have kept with our path of producing a high performance product that has proven to last more than 30 years with only two mils of thickness loss in that time frame, which is approximately half the thickness of a piece of paper. We have been successful in recycling our pre-consumer and post consumer product which has gone toward car gaskets, water hoses and flooring. In Europe they have been successful in using recycled PVC roofing material in the back ply of new roofing material, which has performed wonderfully for the last 15 years. We are watching this study closely.

    almost all roofing products produced currently are made with 100% fossil fuels while PVC is made up of 50% natural gas and 50% salt. There isn’t any product produced on the planet that doen’t have some negative effect on the environment and while there may be some negative effects of reflective PVC roofing membrane I do believe that the longevity of PVC roofing material can have it’s benefits. I do agree that PVC has no place in the packaging of consumer products or any other uses that will quickly be discarded. This is just not a good use of a material that is designed to last for generations.

    I welcome your thoughts. This type of dialogue is how new and better ideas get started.

    If you would like to check out our green initiatives please go to http://ibroof.com/green.html

  14. I have quick scanned most of this blog and somehow didn’t see any reference to the Stockholm Convention of 2004 at which 127 countries, the United States included, were signatory to an agreement to phase out the manufacturing of PVC entirely?

    Also check out the Evergreen recycling facility in Augusta, GA and how much TPO they recycle directly back into TPO. Warren Buffett thought that it was such forward thinking that Berkshire Hathaway bought the company.

    Over the past decade Thermoplastic Olefin has been the most used, fastest growing and “greenest’ replacement material for PVC as a backing material for carpeting. Litterally all carpet manufacturers in the U.S. are working on PVC alternatives at this time.

  15. I hear you regarding misuse of PVC in many products. For PVC to be used in packaging that will be discarded quickly after it arrives is a horrible use of PVC, but there are very beneficial uses for PVC in Construction. Roofing for example is an excellent choice for PVC. It has an incredible track record for the past 30 years and is the most studied and documented material out there.

    It’s longevity not only lends itself to be a great use in the roofing market but it’s inherent fire retardant properties as well. Unlike TPO, PVC membranes will not support a flame.

    You also have the make-up of PVC 50% salt and 50% natural gas, compared to TPO being 100% fossil fuels (hydrocarbons) which has the natural tendancy to burn with thick black smoke. I have two videos that you should take a look at.

    http://www.ksl.com/?sid=8106243&nid=148 This video is of a new construction project in Salt Lake City where sparks from a welder caught the new TPO roof on fire and was quoted to “take off like hay”, TPO burns like plastic and the drips from the burning material continues to burn whatever it lands on.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFkTqCB77l4 This video is a commercial, but documents how much safer a PVC roof is in regards to fire.

    If in fact that carpet manufactures are moving to TPO backing it is because it is very inexpensive. The risk is that if the building were to catch on fire the carpet and backing would spread the flames and smoke very quickly, putting lives at risk.

    I did as you asked and took a look at the recycling plant in Georgia. It appears that they mainly recycle carpet not roofing material. The reports that I have looked at do not have a program for TPO recycling of roofing membranes.

    The PVC Roofing industry is the only roofing manufacture segment that has an active recycle program from expired PVC roofs.

  16. Don,

    If you have conveniently omitted. The agreement of 2004 in Stockholm was very quickly overturned as the facts show PVC to be one of the most efficient means of building materials on the market and all reasons that were environmentally based to ban the use of PVC were found to be scientifically false and unmeritted. PVC is the dominant roofing material in the European Market because, of it’s track record of its’ long-life, proven recyclability POST-CONSUMER, and low maintenance.
    Don’t get me wrong, TPO CAN be a good product. In Europe it is actually MORE expensive than PVC because, the manufacturers of it over there take pride in the materials that they produce and use quality materials. It is still however, unable to reintroduced as of yet into the recycling stream post-consumer when it comes to roofing materials.
    TPO here in the US is a COMMODITY product and is nothing but, ever-changing formulations filled with fillers and failing miserably. So, badly in fact that the largest TPO manufacturer in the country just had a marketing piece admitting to the failure of the material in the market as a whole and that the have “the answer” to fix those problems. Biggest problem is here is the raw materials that are used to push a cheap sheet into the marketplace. If PVC is roughly $.70-$.80/sqft and TPO is roughly $.30/sqft what do you think is causing this discrepency especially the fact given that TPO is 100% derived from fossil fuels? It is the other garbage that is used that cuts costs.
    TPO roofs as little as 4 years old are FAILING. And a failure means that that the roof NEEDS to be replaced. Warranty or no warranty, is that really the roofing material that you want on your building?

    The fact of the matter is, PVC WILL last a loooooong time and Shawn makes a very good point about PVC not being such a good fit for disposable products. Especially for products that will just get thrown into the landfill.

    Don’t be fooled though. TPO isn’t biodegradable either and it CAN”T be recycled post-consumer in roofing applications. So, if these roof even last 15 years (which no TPO roof has proven to hold out more than 12 years in the US thus far) every 15 years all of that material is going straight to the landfill as well as EPDM, Built-up roof materials, etc. So, to say that PVC is the enemy for landfill disposal is Not true since it can actually be recycled when the time comes.

  17. Nice Post. This is one of the best ways to show you love nature and are eco-friendly. If all flat roofs used PVC, it would make a huge difference to the environment. The post has been really an eye opener and, as I love the environment, I used Eco-friendly PVC material for the development of my new roof, and it has been really amazing. I received professional help for it http://www.hfmfgcorp.com and they provided me with the best material on the market.

  18. What about the shattering of the orginal PVC roofs that had no reinforcements? Is that a change in formulation now? So we are to say that TPO roof manufactures that have changed their formulations to fix problems is the same as the PVCS. Stay with a TPO and find out what manufacturing co has had the same formulation and will represent the roofer/owner if there ever is a issue.

  19. David,

    2 problems with your statement:

    1. The addition of reinforcement does not change the formulation of the polymer. Trocal was the manufacturer of the non-reinforced PVC membranes in the 80′s and they started adding reinforcement in the mid-80′s. Unfortunately for them they couldn’t recover due to their failures with the non-reinforced sheets. Most other PVC manufacturers have always uses a reinforcement scrim of some sort in their sheets.

    2. No TPO manufacturer has kept a consistent chemical formulation since it has been introduced here in the US. The only TPO manufacturers that can claim such are in Europe and would never be able to enter the commodity market that is the TPO market in the US.

  20. I have the Trocal product on my roof since 1989.
    It is still as pliable and flexible as the day it was installed.
    The flashing has delaminated in some areas but it has stayed attached where ever the membrane was covering it at the overlaps so it has not leaked at all due to this failure after 20 years.
    I plan on covering the flashing with an Eternabond product that I can paint with a UV resistant paint and hopefully I’ll get another 20 years out of the roof. I live in the northeast so the material has been subject to extreme temperature swings throughout the years and the membrane is still going strong.

  21. _Which_ phthalate is used in the IB product?

    There are a lot of different ones.

    Only some of them are problems.

  22. And still looking.

    Treehugger did a good piece about this thread here:
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/01/how-not-to-sell-vinyl.php# (quoted below)

    I’ve got bids for IBRoof and shingles, both “cool roof” white rated, and I want to tell ya, folks, when you actually need a roof and go looking for information because you _are_ going to pick something, this stuff gets to feeling very different than when you’re sitting back behind a computer kibitzing.

    It’s humbling. Customers can’t find out much.

    For the IBRoofing guy — seriously, I know you’ve got a proprietary product, it’s got much to recommend it — if you won’t say _which_ phthalate you’re using, will you say which _class_ or molecule length, how many carbons? See below for why.

    Want to see a competitor doing this really, really wrong? Look at:
    http://www.duro-last.com/blog/?p=745
    (last updated in February 2010 — citing an outdated 1999 source and that ex-Greenpeace guy claiming no problem, and listing sources that contradict what’s on the webpage if you follow through.)

    I’ll check next week and see if Duro-Last updates it with this reference for example, which I suggested they refer to.

    Same message for IBRoof — which exact phthalate MATTERS here; how their chemical structures corresponds to the size and spacing of sites on the estrogen and androgen receptors can be described.

    And biological response can be tested quite simply in labs on individual cells.

    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ScienceResearch/BioinformaticsTools/EndocrineDisruptorKnowledgebase/UCM144386.pdf
    Chem. Res. Toxicol. 2003, 16, 1338-1358

    AR [androgen receptor], ER [estrogen receptor]:

    …. We demonstrated that all phthalates examined were inactive in ER binding (18, 30, 66) but active in AR binding….The AR binding pocket (volume ) 341 Å3) is smaller than ER (369 Å3) (60). … relatively small chemicals such as lindane, flutamide, and fenpicionil favor AR binding.”

    So — how big is the phthalate in your product? You must know this stuff. Tell us what you know, show you’ve made a good faith effort to keep up on the research and aren’t in denial about the science; your customers can’t expect the impossible. We can expect you not to be hiding facts you have, when selling a 30-year product.

    Can’t we? Reassure me please.

    You aren’t making “soft chewy vinyl toys” here. There are good reports about PVC roofing remaining flexible and heat-weldable (repairable, modifiable) for its lifetime. Way better than asphalt shingles.

    The summary from Treehugger:

    “… . Vinyl roofs are a huge advance in roofing; they are effective and reflective. The Guardian recently reported that a mass movement to make roofs white could delay climate change by ten years.

    So why greenwash vinyl? Why pretend that it is “natural”? Why not just say that there is not much out there right now that does the job better, and that on balance it is a better choice than the alternatives. It probably is.”
    _____________

    Seriously, to the manufacturers — that’s good advice.
    Distinguish yourself from the bad uses of PVC, and kick back upstream to the manufacturers about limiting what they produce proactively, taking precautions on principle.

    The industry was, well, evil is about right. And it’s changed, at least in the countries where public health works — they enclosed the processing plants eliminating the associated cancers that were showing up a few decades back. Good move.

    They can and apparently do recycle the roofing scraps and old material after its lifetime (unlike the cheap vinyl crap stuff that goes into landfill, which is a _bad_ use of PVC).

  23. Argh, the alternatives aren’t reassuring:

    “”TPO is not TPO is not TPO”—chemical formulations and basic raw materials may be different in the same product during any given time period. And with the experimentation with new fire-resistant additives and other variations in chemical composition, current TPOs have no substantial performance history and are essentially new, untested products….”
    http://www.professionalroofing.net/archives/past/jan02/feature2.asp

  24. To address Hank’s question,
    I am not a chemist, but have been educated somewhat about the dangers and the myths of some phthalates. That being said I do know that grouping all phthalates together is like grouping all the religeons in the world together as the same. There are some phthalates that are harmful and have been banned in North America for more than 20 years. Other phthalates have been the subject of indepth studies and have been proven harmless to humans or the environment. One place to research this further is; http://www.phthalates.com/index.asp?page=5 This website gives indepth information about phthalates, their uses and studies involved to answer some of your questions and concerns.

    You also have to realize that the purpose of phthalates is to be used as a plasticizer and keep a product flexible and it represents a small percentage in the overall formulation.

    While I cannot divulge proprietary formulation information I can assure you that IB Roof Systems uses a premium plasticizer package that has been proven to be safe during and after manufacturing. Additionally, their hasn’t been one health incident in the 30+ year history of their company involved with the ingredients or the make up of their products.

    I did read the blog from TreeHugger and even though “salt cracking” is energy intensive, so is drilling, pumping, shipping and refining crude oil into chemicals to then be used to manufacture other roofing products.

    There will be trade offs with any products in the construction industry. You have to weigh the pro’s and con’s and choose which is best for the environment and your project. We firmly stand by our choice to produce PVC roofing material and we feel that it is the best choice for our customers and the environment.

  25. Dear experts,
    As many had mentioned this is a great post and brings in lot of information. I am in the field of waterproofing since 14yrs and have used all types of membranes. I know that PVC is a good system and is picking up these days. My question ” Is a PVC membrane recommended below structures for basement waterproofing ? Is it eco friendly when used below ground ? Please advice

  26. I’m no expert; you might ask the hosts to create a new topic for your question, but my suggestion is that the best approach is to go to a good reference librarian and get help searching.
    Google Scholar turns up lots of technical papers but you’d need a librarian to get them for you. Also at least one book that mentions the idea is used:
    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=bhmVq6HVzuoC&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=pvc+basement+waterproofing&ots=6-peVJvNn6&sig=a6HLq0U0z2pfpAfz_Q6EZEoZyDo#v=onepage&q=pvc&f=false

  27. As Shawn has mentioned, the formulation of IB PVC roofing is proprietary, and they will not disclose it (for obvious reasons).

    I as a roofer (and the author of this article) want to stress two points:

    First – I did not try to prove that PVC roofing is 100% environmentally safe – it has pros and cons, but in the big picture it is much better than the alternatives that are commercially available in the flat roofing market today.

    Second point is a continuation of the first one – PVC roofing lasts a hell of a long time – some longer than others, and though different roofers who work with PVC, have different preferences, I like the IB products more and more. Here is an overview of two PVC roof repairs that we have done recently – one was an old Trocal PVC roof and the other was a 20 years old Sarnafil PVC roof – http://www.coolflatroof.com/flat-roofing-blog/pvc-roof-repair/ – Both roofs were patched with NEW IB roof material.

    The Trocal roof was repaired in the middle of the winter, so we could not assess the flexibility of the membrane – it was very cold and the membrane was very stiff. The Sarnafil roof was repaired on a warm day in Nov. 2009, and the membrane was really hard – it lost about 90% of it’s flexibility.

    The IB roof that has been installed for 30 years, retained most of its flexibility, with minimal membrane thickness loss (about 2 mil or 4% of total membrane thickness in 30 years).

    However all 3 roofs were easily repaired by simply cleaning the surface and welding a patch of new material to the old roof.

    With Rubber Roof you would have to use a ton of chemical cleaners and adhesive and install many patches, if not having to replace the entire roof all together, and dumping the old roof in the landfill.

    With TPO Roofing who knows what you would have to do to repair it, as there are so many different generations and formulations, and no one knows how compatible they are with each other. Many TPO roofs also have extensive loss of thickness over short periods of time – under 15 years, often less – and there is a good chance you would have to junk the whole roof that is fairly new. As far as repairing TPO roof – they often have premature curing problems and will not weld, so you rely on glue / adhesive to fix a roof leak.

    Bottom line – the two old PVC roofs were easily fixed and will serve for many more years, and if need arises, can be easily repaired, as demonstrated. Other flat roofing materials are often unrepairable, and have to be removed. This make PVC roofing the better and greener choice as they last longer and with easy repair, the service life can be further extended, way past the warranty period.

    Also because the PVC roofing materials from different manufacturers are usually compatible with each other – in other words, you can weld Material A to Material B – you can easily fix them with PVC roofing material you have – no need to get it from the manufacturer.

  28. Question for ‘Green Roofing’ — would you be comfortable if someone asked you to install a living green roof starting on top of an existing PVC membrane? (assuming the underlying support was sufficient).

    Or would you want to tear it off and recreate the waterproof layer? How would you decide?

  29. Hank, thank you for your reply. I had done a lot of search in the net regarding use of PVC below ground. Also checked your link. Every article or topic about PVC talks about PVC roofing only and no mention of PVC usage below ground.

  30. @ Hank,

    I would be rather comfortable putting a modular green roof on existing PVC membrane. If you asked me to put a non-modular green roof on existing PVC membrane, I probably would depending on following factors:

    Age – I would not put a green roof over membrane that is older than 10 years.

    Thickness – I would only put a green roof on an 80-mil membrane.

    Roof condition – I would first thoroughly inspect the roof, probe all the seams, repatch all corners (inside and outside), make sure all fasteners are driven in and not sticking out.

    Then I would still use a modular green roof.

    Green Roof Blocks sells green roof bags, which are very competitive priced compared aluminum or plastic modules.

    I would not want to use the layered green roof, that stretches over entire roof or roof section – just the thought of a roof leak and removal of entire green roof to find that leak, makes me not want to use anything but green roof modules.

    @ Opus:

    PVC is used as pool liners, landfill liners, etc. It will work excellent under ground. I would think that it will not release any dangerous chemicals and be rather safe. PVC roofing products are made to be very stable an non degradable even under constant beating from sun UV rays, and the elements. Under ground, it’s protected from the sun, so it should last a lot longer.

  31. Opus, use Scholar not the ordinary Google search, using the + to force it to include a word and you should find what I found about use on foundations. Like this:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=PVC+%2Bbasement+%2Bwaterproofing

    “Green Roofing” –thanks for this pointer:
    http://www.greenroofblocks.com/greenroofblocks/productinfo.html

    They list roofing materials already approved and appear to be getting approval for more, and work on slopes to 4:12.
    Very interesting idea.

    It does look like it may be practical to put on a PVC roof now and, later on, add the reinforcement in the attic space to support green roofing, at least over the bearing walls, and a bit at a time. Very interesting!

  32. PS, question for IB — will IB be supporting the GreenRoofBlocks approach?

    GRB says they get their base pad for the blocks from each individual roofing manufacturer to make sure it’s compatible, and they are “approved by these roofing manufacturers (short list) … We are engaged in the approval process with many additional roofing manufacturers.”

  33. Here’s one of the better arguments I’ve seen for white roofs:
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/misc/pixel.gif
    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/09/16/opinion/20100916_gielen-11.html

    Well, if all goes as planned we’ll be getting an IB roof starting in a couple of weeks, and I’ll record the process as it goes along and after the roofers leave.

    On an atypically warm day recently, where we live our current old tar-and-white-gravel roof, at about 10am, measured 105 degrees F on the underside boards in the attic and the same on the underside of the eaves overhanging the windows. At the same time the blue sky to the north measured just over 40 degrees F. So we were getting a whole lot more heat coming into the windows (on the shady side of the house) from the hot eaves than from the sky outside.

    White ‘EnergyStar’ shingles would give about as much of an improvement on getting rid of heat back to the sky (“emissivity”); it’s been a hard choice between shingles that will probably have to be landfilled in 30 years, or the PVC that likely then can go into the existing recycling system.

    Of course in 3 decades, maybe there will be a recycling system set up and working for asphalt shingles too!

    Wish we could’ve managed a metal roof, but that was well out of reach financially at our age.

    Crossing fingers; hoping to hear that IB will support GreenRoofBlocks — IB does show some green roofs now on their website, which is encouraging.

    GreenRoofBlocks promises they’ll have their website updated and despammed fairly soon, too.

    Hope to hear from others who have to make real world decisions in their actual lives about roofing — what’re you gonna do?

  34. Uh oh. For _all_ “cool roof” types:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“cool+roof”+condensation

    Just like car roofs — another efficient radiating surface that can be frosted over after cooling down during a clear-sky night, when there’s no frost anywhere else.

    None of the five roofers I got bids from mentioned this happens– duh. I should have figured it out from the physics involved.

    A high-emissivity roof is a heat pump. The whole roof gets cooler than the surroundings, by radiating heat away to the sky very efficiently — and so condenses moisture underneath worse than standard roofs do because it gets cooler.

    A neighbor who used to be a rocket scientist warned me about this — he knew about it from working on rocket propellant storage tanks years ago. “How much insulation?”

    I’d asked all the roofers about adding a layer of insulation under whatever “cool roof” they suggested (various shingles or IB, all EnergyStar listed). All said no need for any insulation between a “cool roof” and wood deck on a house, because the insulation over the living space meant the attic is outside the thermal envelope. But, duh, moisture comes in the vents and a “cool roof” on a clear night acts like a dehumidifier, it gets cooler than the surroundings.

    DUH. This is how they make ice in the desert.

    Most of the roofers don’t understand the problem even when it’s explained, or even when I show them the various pages in the search result documenting it.

    It’s solvable if it happens — but a designed-in solution would include insulation with proper spacing for expansion _and_ caulking to prevent any air circulating under the roof shingles or membrane where it can deposit water on or into the insulation. Dunno how a “mechanically applied” roof works out; might dry out better; might get wetter.

    The most thorough discussion I’ve found is more about metal roofs — quoted below. That discusses the problem in places that freeze during the winter, where the problem would be worse than in a moderate climate. But wood does dry-rot with just high humidity. So …. argh.

    Welcome to the future. Hope to hear from the roofers here.

    http://www.eco-structure.com/cool-roofing/challenging-whats-cool.aspx

    “…. white membranes tend to accelerate and accentuate the accumulation of moisture because of the membrane’s cooler temperatures, which may never be much higher than ambient temperature for the entire winter. This condensation is not just minor moisture accumulating in the roof system; it can be enough to result in ice formation on the underside of the membrane, saturate insulation facers below the membrane and drip into the interior….

    … So who is at fault? The complexity of accountability can be illustrated by considering ice below the membrane. The first action will be taken by the roofing contractor and most likely will be a quick, low-cost fix that will not work. Upon investigation, it will be discovered that one layer of insulation was designed into the system. Now the architect is the culprit. The architect will say the specification indicates to install the insulation in full accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, there are joints between the insulation greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm) that were to be filled. The roofing contractor will say he installed the roof insulation with all joints tightly butted together; however, per the ASTM standard quoted in the insulation product data, there is an allowable physical-dimensional change. Therefore, the manufacturer is at fault. The insulation manufacturer will say this information was noted in the product data, and it was the architect’s responsibility to read the material and design a roof system that wouldn’t condensate. The architect then can say EPA’s Energy Star program, LBNL and others declared cool roofing was a good thing.”

  35. And the more you read the more confusing it gets.
    Welcome to the great experiment, I guess.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=17&ved=0CDEQFjAGOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhutchinsondesigngroup.com%2Findex.php%3Foption%3Dcom_docman%26task%3Ddoc_download%26gid%3D3%26Itemid%3D&rct=j&q=%22cool%20roof%22%20condensation&ei=hyyqTObxHI6WsgO228yFDQ&usg=AFQjCNEyrTR1uiW2Ya5pCA99zHCNCQOazA&sig2=nwApO__tnNy2sNjPJKyX-g&cad=rja

    Sorry for the huge URL, it’s a cached reply to the first linked article from the same magazine.

    At any rate I’m a bit more confident my particular local roofers had reason not to know about this or bring it up in our location; no actual reports of problems here, where it almost never freezes and roofs aren’t built so water has any place to accumulate longterm.

  36. Hank,
    IB has vegatative roof installs using modular trays and growing media on top of the system. We have partnered with LiveRoof, which is a modular tray system, but I don’t believe that GRB would present any adverse issue with our system. The below link is one of our project profiles of a tray roof system. http://www.ibroof.com/resource_center/profiles/st_clair_com_college.pdf
    We also have a video of a vegatative roof being installed in the Bay Area. http://www.ibroof.com/videos/gardenwise/gardenwise_video.html
    I hope this helps with your question.

  37. Hank,
    I forgot to mention that IB Roof Systems was asked to participate in an upcoming episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition that will aire on October 31. Most of the structure’s roof is metal but there was a flat section that a vegetative roof was wanted and IB provided the membrane for that section. I don’t know if they will mention the vegetative section, but it was neat to be involved with that project.

  38. Hey Shawn, another question — do you recycle the scrap from roofing work? I’ve seen a couple of pickup beds worth of scrap, some DensDeck but a lot of it IB Roof. I asked for some scraps to play with but they took every bit. I wondered if the roofers are reusing scraps themselves, or are able to recycle it locally, or were just being meticulous about cleanup.

  39. Shawn, do you have a plant list for that San Francisco ‘green roof’ movie? (I hope that’s not ‘fountain grass’ they’re using!)

    I’d really like to see followup year after year. The big challenge will be to keep weeds from setting seed, which means pulling them before the seeds are mature enough to fall or blow away. A few will get there by bird or wind; once a few sprout, they’ve got to be weeded out early. These are the ones to watch for:
    http://www.cal-ipc.org/
    (annuals are bad; perennials are worse, if they ever get rhizomes or buds established. And many are still sold by nurseries as garden ornamentals, like fountain grass)

  40. WOO! The never ending battle of trying to explain how plastics are here to stay. I really appreciate the graph that shows dioxin compound emissions related to their sources. Many of the people who majorly cry foul about PVC are driving cars to their protests, emitting dioxins headed to and from the event.
    The fact is, we’ve made the plastics. They’re not going away. We can’t just wish this under the rug and think that it’ll go away. But we can recycle them, and we can put them in applications where their slow decay works to our advantage.
    A roof is the perfect example of that. People say,” That PVC is going to take a thousand years to break down!”
    And when it’s a roof you’re talking about, that’s some great freakin news.
    “Your roof isn’t going to leak for like a thousand years, man,” Hardly sounds like bad news to me.

  41. I don’t thinks PVC is harmful if properly used. In fact, I would recommend to use solar and PVC modules to save bio-fuel and natural energies. As per a recent research by a reputed solar energy firm indicates that solar power and PVC market is at all time high. Reasons are obvious. Using solar power is safe. It is natural power. The same rule is applicable to PVC. Today, most PVC modules confirm to TUV, CE and UL quality standards. Buy solar items from a reputed company and save your nature.

  42. We use PVC at home a lot, although I already heard about it being toxic. At least reading both the pros and cons of this material will shed lights on this issue. I enjoy the interactions here because it leads to the revelation of more information. I find this blog a great one!

  43. I have been a PVC user and I get this from my dad whose idea he got from my grandpa and so on. This means PVC is so common and has been used for years. Just like any other products, PVCs have pros and cons and we just need to weigh them down and make our preference.

  44. With everything going expensive these days, we have to be careful in selecting the service provider to give us what we need. Just like our home, we want to use the best materials that we can have in order to avoid spending much from possible repairs because of using low grade materials. One of the things where we can save some bucks is using plastic for some materials to be used for the house. These are not the usual plastics that we see and use like bags, but they are the ones used in our pipes and windows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>