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Exterior Upgrades to Make Your Commercial Building More Energy Efficient
Eastern Roofing
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Exterior Upgrades to Make Your Commercial Building More Energy Efficient

For most commercial buildings, energy is the single greatest operating expense, accounting for around 20% of total operational costs. But commercial structures that haven’t taken any measures to improve their energy efficiency could be shelling out far more in energy expenses than they need to. Is your building one of them?

If so, boosting your building’s overall energy efficiency isn’t difficult, but it does require you to make few upgrades. Aside from improving your HVAC system, lighting, and other energy-hungry systems, investing in exterior upgrades can also help reduce overall energy usage significantly.

Which exterior upgrades have the most potential to make your building more energy efficient? We’ve got the breakdown below.

Insulative or Reflective Roofing

If your building is due for a roof replacement, why not upgrade to a more insulative roofing material to improve energy efficiency? Asphalt shingles are available with special reflective coatings that increase their thermal emittance. If you’re looking to reflect more of the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere rather than allowing it to penetrate the building, reflectant shingles are a great way to achieve that.

Aside from asphalt, metal roofing can also help improve your building’s energy efficiency since it’s naturally reflective enough to help prevent heat transfer. Tile roofing is also highly insulative and like asphalt, it can be coated (glazed) to improve its ability to reflect solar heat energy. A qualified commercial roofing contractor can recommend the best material for your building and budget if you’re unsure which type of roof is best for your needs. 

New Siding

Siding, along with insulation, plays a major role in controlling the amount of heat loss your building experiences through its walls. Upgrading to highly insulative siding that has a high R-value is another effective way to help reduce your building’s energy leakage.

Which types of siding offer the best protection from heat transfer? Here’s a quick breakdown of the R-values for some of the most popular types of commercial cladding:

●        Fiber cement: 0.37

●        Standard vinyl: 0.61

●        Insulated vinyl: 1.8

●        Hollow-backed steel and aluminum: .61

●        Insulated steel and aluminum: 2+

●        Wood: 0.87

The above values can vary depending on the thickness of insulation and the type of product you select. Ideally, you’ll want to combine siding replacement with additional wall insulation for the best protection against heat transfer. A qualified exterior contractor can help you choose the best siding material for your building’s unique needs and your project budget. 

Energy-Efficient Insulation

Does your building still have loose-fill insulation? Do you know its R-value? Because if it doesn’t have a very high insulating capacity, you could be losing a considerable amount of heat through your ceiling, walls, and floor.

Although loose-fill insulation can last several decades — typically around 80 years — minimum insulating requirements for our Minnesota climate have changed over the years. So if your insulation is several decades old, it may not even meet the minimum R-value required by modern energy code.

In Zone 6 and 7 — where we are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro — minimum R-values are R-30ci and R-35ci, respectively. If your insulation isn’t quite up to par, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading. Ideally, you’ll want to opt for spray foam insulation since it cuts down on air leakage and heat loss considerably. As the most energy-efficient insulation on the market today, spray foam is your best bet for reducing your building’s energy loss and environmental footprint. 

Insulated Windows

If your building still has single-pane windows or even outdated double-pane windows, they’re likely encouraging considerable heat exchange, which can drive up your company’s energy costs. Highly insulated windows, on the other hand, can reduce indoor-outdoor heat exchange by about 30%-50%, depending on the R-value you opt for.

Low-emissivity (heat reflective) coatings can also be added to insulated windows for additional insulation against heat transfer. If you’re considering insulated window replacements for your building, keep in mind that multiple-pane and specialty coated windows are typically about 15% to 20% more expensive than their standard counterparts.

Given the amount of money they stand to save you on your energy bills, however, the additional cost is well worth the investment.

Invest in Exterior Upgrades for Your Commercial Business

Ready to improve your commercial building’s energy efficiency? Let our team at Eastern Roofing & Siding help you get it done! For over 25 years, we’ve proudly served businesses throughout Cottage Grove, Woodbury, and Inver Grove Heights with commercial roofing services and siding services, and we can help you select the best products for your needs and budget. To learn more or get started, give us a call today at 651-238-1313. Let’s get your project off the ground!

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