Smart Roofs


Smart Roofs

As a facility manager, would you like to be notified immediately by text or e-mail if a roof leak is developing, or that the snow load on your roof is becoming dangerous, or how about if a roof drain is blocked? Well, it is all possible with a smart roof. A smart roof uses electronic sensors to detect a problem. The sensors are connected to an electronic control panel. Some systems are stand-alone systems and others integrate with your Building Management System or alarm system.


Leak Detection Membrane Monitoring

Big leaks usually start off small, so the sooner you know there has been a breach in your roofing membrane, the better. Moisture detectors can provide you with that information quickly, even before there are visual indications of water intrusion. There are different solutions on the market. One such system uses a sensor tape layout in a grid with additional moisture point sensors to detect moisture intrusions and membrane breaches. This is a system that must be installed under the membrane with a new roof installation.


Snow Load Monitoring

If you live in an area where snow can be a problem, there are smart solutions to monitor your roof’s snow load. A load monitoring system can give you the information you need to avoid a roof collapse that can cause injury or death, property and inventory damage, and business downtime needed for repairs. Also, these systems can provide solid information that you may use to avoid unnecessary and hazardous snow removal based on guesswork. Again, there are different solutions on the market. Some rely on monitoring pressure and others monitor roof deflection to determine if there is a problem. These systems can be installed with single ply, existing roofs.


Drain Flow Monitoring

If your roof drain is clogged, it is something that needs attention quickly. There is a drain flow sensor on the market that addresses that need. The flow sensors are typically positioned in the overflow drainage system and will alert you that the overflow system is in use. This indicates that the primary drainage system is blocked or cannot handle the water load. These systems can be retrofitted to existing roof drain plumbing with some modifications.


Living Roof Monitoring

If you have or plan to have a vegetative roof, make it a smart living roof by installing sensors to monitor rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature, light intensity, air temperature/relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and to measure storm water runoff. The information these sensors provide can help you maintain healthy rooftop vegetation.


Integrating electronic sensors into roofs, especially when constructing a new building or replacing a roof, is something to consider. As electronic building management systems already monitor and control many other aspects of a building’s health and environment such as HVAC, fire and security, access control, lighting, it might be “smart” to consider extending that monitoring to the rooftop.