Rooftop Generators for Apartments, Industries, and Commercial Areas

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A generator can be installed in different places in a building. The most preferred locations are basement floors and structures adjacent to the building. However, under certain circumstances, rooftops become the most suitable option for generator installation.

Rooftop generators come with special features that protect them from adverse environmental effects and also shield the rooftop structure against the heavyweight and vibration of the generator. If you are planning to install a rooftop generator in an industrial, commercial, or apartment building, here are the points you need to remember to make the most out of this device.

Rooftop Generators for Apartment Buildings

Rooftop Generators for Apartment Buildings

Not all apartment building owners allow residents to install generators on the rooftop. Therefore, if you want to legally install a rooftop generator, you will first have to get an approval from the building owner.

You may have to submit an application ‘Right to Install Generator’ to the owner, in which you are asked to enlist the reasons to install a rooftop generator. There will be certain rules and regulations (made by the building owner) that you must abide by in order to install the generator. 

  • The owner will ask you to take the responsibility if a problem like damage to the building structure etc., arises.
  • Your generator should have a self-contained, above-ground, single fuel tank unit. Owners usually do not permit the installation of underground fuel storage tanks.
  • The generator should have a silence muffler, which is used to reduce the airborne noise of the engine.
  • Owners usually prefer diesel generators over natural gas generators. It is mainly because the former needs a connection with the main supply of the gas.

A resident may not get approval for the rooftop generator installation under the following situations. 

  • The roof does not have enough space.
  • The building or rooftop structure is not strong enough to support the heavyweight of a generator.
  • The neighbors have a visual or noise problem due to the rooftop generator.
  • The rooftop already has AC outdoor units; due to which no more weighted devices can be installed.
  • The local municipality does not approve the rooftop installation.
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Rooftop Generators for Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings like healthcare centers, nursing homes, etc., require electricity 24/7. Even a delay of a minute can cost lives. Due to this reason, generators are used to make sure all pieces of equipment and devices stay connected to the electricity when they are in use.

The rules and regulations for installing a rooftop generator in a commercial building are similar to the rules explained above. You will have to get a permit from the local municipality and then buy a generator according to the rules.

You will have to conduct a feasibility study to see if you can install a rooftop generator in the commercial building or not. This study will involve:  

  • City or building codes: You will have to check and follow local codes regarding device placement, noise attenuation, and fuel storage.
  • Architect engineer: They will evaluate the rooftop and determine if:
    • There is sufficient space or not.
    • To what extent does the generator vibration have to be isolated?
    • Is the building structure strong enough to tolerate additional weight?
  • Electrical engineer: They will tell you what you need to create a connection between the rooftop generator  on the top of the building and the equipment located at the bottom. They will provide you with an estimated value of the wire size you need to create the connection. They will also inform you about the correct placement of the automatic transfer switch (ATS) that automatically transfers the electricity supply from its main source to the generator when it detects an electricity outage.
  • Building contractor: They will access the building and find the most suitable way of carrying the generator to the top. Some very tall buildings may require helicopters to lift heavy generators. Contractors will determine if you need an already enclosed generator or if you need to build a separate generator enclosure.

Industrial Rooftop Standby Generators

Some industries like food processing units or manufacturing industries cannot afford an electricity outage because the sudden loss of power can stop the equipment in the midst of a manufacturing or processing cycle. Sudden power failure can damage your expensive equipment, making rooftop generator installation an absolute necessity.

You need to check the local roles before buying or installing a rooftop generator for your industrial building. Here are a few issues you need to consider when choosing an industrial rooftop generator or its location.

  • Make sure the generator you buy is an enclosed set so that it can withstand rain, snow, wind, and other environmental elements.
  • If you choose a diesel generator, make sure there is a ground located bulk tank to feed the daily service tank. It should have spillage containment.
  • The location you choose should have convenient rooftop access and lighting for routine service entry and maintenance.
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Installation of Rooftop Generators

Heavy rooftop generators are transported to roofs with the help of cranes. You first choose the location and then install a rooftop base on which the generator is expected to be installed. The chosen location should provide enough room to the generator to remove excess fumes and cool down.  

Here are a few specifications you need to remember for rooftop generator installation.

  • Tall buildings often experience 150 mph wind speed. The enclosure you use for the generator should be able to withstand high winds.
  • In certain areas, the temperature can drop very low in winters. Therefore, consider cold starting aids to ensure the equipment runs smoothly.
  • A sound enclosure should be used to protect the surrounding buildings from noise pollution.
  • The set should have a vibration isolator to protect the building structure from the damaging effects of vibration.
  • It is better to have generator controls duplicated in the building’s control room (usually located on the ground floor or basement), so you don’t have to go to the rooftop to use the generator control panel.

The Bottom Line

Rooftop generators are usually installed in areas where there is not enough space in the basement or ground floor, or the area is prone to floods. 

United Tech Power generators come in different forms. We have super-silent generators that produce a negligible sound pollution, making them the most suitable set for building rooftops. Our CARB-compliant generators produce fewer greenhouse gasses, which makes them the best choice for neighborhoods where air quality rules must be followed to install generators.

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