Why PVC Single Ply Is Now A Top Green Roofing Solution

Simon Hancock, MIoR, Senior Technical Services Manager at Protan (UK) Ltd, explains how big developments in PVC technology means PVC is now probably one of the ‘greenest’ roofing materials available.

Say PVC to most architects, specifiers, and they hark to the negatives of 20 years ago - short lifespan, poor performance…

But that was then. PVC is now probably one of the ‘greenest’ roofing materials available, through massive developments in its technology.

For instance, its production generates 1/5th of the CO2 arising from the production of aluminium1. Under the BRE Green Guide, it is rated A+. Only 43% of PVC membrane is derived from non-renewable fossil fuel - almost all other single-ply and built-up systems contain a much higher percentage. PVC is the only roofing material that can be recycled back into roofing products.

Today’s PVC roofs last longer on the whole than any other plastic roof - typically up to 30 years. Their formulation has been refined to withstand harsh weather and temperature extremes. Improved reflective properties mean the membrane is not degraded by UV. PVC doesn’t rot, rust or corrode.

The enhanced formulation also means it is even more flexible than in the past, giving architects huge scope for design. Whilst still predominantly used for ‘flat’ roofs, PVC single ply forms the base of green (sedum) roofs, creates barrels, curves, domes, arches, balconies. What other single material gives such scope?

And with more and more clients being aware of sustainability, PVC single ply ‘ticks all the boxes’ for their building stock, be it new-build or refurbishment/upgrade projects. J Sainsbury and Premier Inns (Whitbread) are just two of the leading brands appreciating the role PVC single ply roofing can make towards their eco strategies. If it’s good enough for them….

1British Plastics Federation