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Designing beyond limitations with Elevate RubberGard EPDM

Our buildings become symbolic of the times we live in, reflecting the spirit of a given era, attending to different needs, lifestyles, functions… “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness”, says one of the most prominent architects of our time, Frank Gehry. Exploration of the emerging technological possibilities and imagining how a new value can be created in people’s lives, have been the guiding principles of the architectural pioneers compelled to respond to the challenges of their time. Today’s key challenge - sustainability - is adding new dimensions to the debate, bringing together form, function, the responsible choice of materials and long-term thinking. Keeping up has never been more important.

Why is it important to build sustainably?

The circular economy, the emergence of new materials and re-imagining urban landscapes in a sustainable way are some of the most important drivers of change in contemporary architecture. Seeking to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by achieving resource and energy efficiency, waste reduction and moderation in the use of raw materials while improving the well-being of people, are trends that are here to stay.

The choice of building materials within the sustainable architecture mindset is strongly influenced by a “reduce, reuse and recycle” approach. Natural and renewable materials have taken center stage, together with durable products that offer a long-lasting solution, contributing to the reduction of construction waste and the need for natural resources.

The renovation of the existing building stock, especially through public schemes for energy-efficient refurbishment, is also gaining momentum. The European Union’s Green Deal initiative, which aims to have zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050, has singled out the renovation of both public and private buildings as an essential measure to pave the way for a carbon-neutral and clean energy system in Europe. As part of the Green Deal, EU member states are expected to engage in a ‘renovation wave’ of public and private buildings, with the goal of at least doubling the current annual renovation rates.

All these challenges do not hinder the creativity of architects, but rather, they foster it. Designing (and building) creatively and sustainably requires a holistic approach to each aspect of a project, including rooftops. As one of the most important components of the total building envelope, roofs offer an empty canvas for all kinds of possibilities. Architects seize them, looking into ways of activating these surfaces (by including green roofs, installing solar panels, harvesting water, etc.) without giving up on the aesthetic value of their creations. Luckily, responsibility and imagination don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Elevate RubberGard EPDM roofing membranes is one of those building materials that are both environmentally friendly and allow to create and renovate beyond limitations.

For flat roofs and beyond

EPDM roofing membranes are mainly used on flat or low slope roofs, these are not the only shapes they can cover. In fact, RubberGard EPDM offers total design freedom, even when the roof is not flat at all. Roofs with irregular shapes, wavy roofs, roofs that extend almost to the point of becoming part of the façade…they can all be waterproofed using RubberGard EPDM.

What gives architects an enormous amount of design freedom when choosing RubberGard EPDM is that it’s single-ply. It means that one thin layer is enough to offer a durable and high-performance waterproofing solution, without adding significant weight to the building structure (unlike other traditional roofing membranes that need to be installed in several layers).

Elevate’s RubberGard EPDM membranes are also extremely flexible, even at temperatures as low as -45 °C. They have excellent lay-flat characteristics and can adapt and conform to irregular shapes very easily, following the geometry of the support. This flexibility also enables them to cope with the building’s various expansions and retractions caused by temperature fluctuations, without ever saturating or breaking.

Suitable both for new construction and renovation, RubberGard EPDM roofing membranes can be installed directly on most substrates, with or without insulation. The installation method is chosen according to the requirements of each project: they can be fully adhered to the substrate using adhesives, fixed mechanically with plates and fasteners, or simply ballasted in place using gravel or concrete pavers. All these methods have one thing in common: no flames are needed to install RubberGard EPDM, which significantly adds to the safety and comfort of the jobsite. In addition, no large or heavy equipment or tools are required, which brings added flexibility during the installation process.

RubberGard EPDM roofing membranes can be left exposed or can be covered with cladding panels. They allow the activation of the roof through a variety of environmentally friendly building practices such as green, solar or blue roofs. In short, where the architect’s vision goes, RubberGard EPDM can follow.