Human beings have been insulating the roofs of their dwellings for thousands of years: This charming house is Iceland is insulated with a traditional thatched roof of straw and reeds, a country where turf roofs date back to the 9th century.

Insulation for roofing has evolved over its history, though its fundamental purposes remains the same: To keep the heat inside a structure, and, when the summer sun shines, the coolness. For industrial structures, roofing insulation is big deal:

• Owners of commercial buildings in America, as a group, save more than 9.6 billion dollars a year, in energy costs, by insulating their buildings, including their roofs. This is 3 times the amount – 3 billion – that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and his wife have donated to “cure all disease.”

• And it is not only money that is saved, insulation in commercial buildings saves energy –by 12 quadrillion BTUs – yes, that is a huge number, and is equal to about 15% of all of the energy used in our country every year.

For those of us living in the northeast of our country that sprawls across 6 climate zones, meaning our commercial roofs must stand up to snow, sleet, hail and sun, we should know that:

• Choosing the right insulation for our commercial roofs is best done in consultation with local roofing companies, like Chaffee Roofing, that have witnessed how different roof insulations behave in our climate. Why? Expertise matters when it comes to insulating roofs, as does experience.

• Reflective roofing is not just for our southern neighbours, but can be a clever part of our roof insulation plans, helping us to create a comfortable environment for the workers who spend their days inside our commercial buildings. If machines are generating heat inside a building, a roof that soaks in heat can result in the uncomfortably high temperatures, and a harsh work environment.

• If you own a commercial building, or are responsible for the maintenance of one, you are probably dealing with a flat roof: Chaffee Roofing offers 5 types of rigid insulation, including polyisocyanurate; HD coverboard; EPS; fiberboard and tapered.

• It’s worth noting that the minimum amount of insulation required in roof removal jobs has gone up over the last 5 years. “R” 20 was code before 2014. Then, after January 2014 it moved to an “R” of 25. Starting January 2017, Massachusetts went to an “R” value of 30. Building code is requiring more and more insulation!

• Yes, choosing the right insulation for your building means doing some research, and making choices, but there are answers to your questions. We know that HD coverboard stands up to hail, while gypsum board might crumble. And that tapered polyiso can help prevent “ponding,” or the formation of troublesome pools of water on your industrial roof. And…

• As we work together to reduce our national carbon footprint, know that insulating the roof of your commercial building properly will help you, and your roofing contractor, do your part. Roofing projects can be expensive, and sometimes insulation is treated as if it were optional, but it isn’t – not if you want your roof to do its job for as long as possible.

National Roofing Week 2017, happens to be held June 4 – 10, and is organized by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). To read about some of the worthy actions taken by roofing contractors across America, visit this website.