ERA | EPDM Roofing Association

Environmental Impact

As one of the most sustainable roofing materials used today in the construction industry, EPDM offers excellent performance throughout the extended life cycle of the roof system, with nearly 50 years of real world experience to back up that claim.

A 2010 Life Cycle Inventory and Assessment study (LCA) showed that black and white EPDM perform better than many other single-ply and bitumen-based membrane materials in key categories such as global warming, acidification and smog generation. International organizations such as the ATHENA® Institute, which evaluates the environmental impacts of new and existing buildings through life cycle assessment (LCA), reviewed the data and have incorporated it into its ATHENA Impact Estimator for Buildings 4 building software and the ATHENA EcoCalculator, a database tool offering instant LCA results.  The 2010 study was one of the first LCAs in the construction industry that looked at entire assemblies (not just the membrane or product) and was also one of the first to be peer reviewed at the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) annual meeting.

EPDM roofing systems therefore provide outstanding performance in reducing environmental impact and the greatest economic value in the low-slope commercial roofing industry. Combine these factors with the product’s ongoing performance in energy savings and protection against the elements, including extreme weather conditions, and the potential for recycling, and it’s clear EPDM is the right choice for commercial roof systems.

For more information, this article from "Choosing the Right Membrane" may be of particular interest.

Detailed information is available in the original study report and corresponding graphics.

Many additional articles, study reports, and press releases on this topic are available in Research & Resources.

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