These days, roofing contractors are confronted by many options
when it comes to the rapidly growing market for green buildings and
their roof systems. Typically, the question for most building
owners, specifiers and architects desiring an environmentally
friendly roof system is whether it will be a living green roof
system or a highly reflective one. But there is another option,
which comes in the form of biobased roofing products such as
reflective roof coatings, adhesives and sealants.
What they are
Biobased roofing products are derived from rapidly renewable
plant oil polymers designed not only to replace but outperform
petroleum-based products. Currently, building products such as
roofing materials, adhesives, caulks, stains, paints, insulation
and sealants primarily come from petroleum. In fact, according to
research conducted by the United Soybean Board (USB), one-third of
all foreign oil consumption in the U.S. is tied to the polyurethane
product industry. These products start out as extracted crude oil,
and it takes an incredible amount of processing to convert crude
oil into the petroleum chemistries commonly used in the roofing
industry. These processes—not the finished products—are
the real offenders when it comes to environmental pollution.
On the other hand, agricultural oils have been called nature's
perfect chemistry. Oil that can end up on a consumer's dining room
table as salad dressing, for instance, also could be taken directly
to a polymer reactor and used to create a host of industrial
polymer-based products. For instance, processing agricultural oils
for industrial building product use as urethanes or polyurethanes
takes less than 20 percent of the inherent energy and subsequent
environmental effect needed to produce comparable petroleum-based
industrial building products, according to...
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