Since most of us replace our roofs only once every 20 to 30 years we don’t know what improvements there are in today’s roofing materials. However, if you’ve just decided your house needs a new roof, you may want to know how roofing products have improved, especially regarding to environmental impact and energy efficiency. Luckily, many roofing products now incorporate recycled materials and offer energy-saving features.
Recycling plays a big part in keeping waste out of landfills and managing natural resources. Many roofing products today incorporate up to 90% recycled material. For example, rubber shingles are made from old tires, and many metal roofs contain recycled aluminum, steel, or copper.
Recycled composite shingles can often mimic Spanish tile, slate, or shake. They resist fire and stand up well to hail or bad weather. Metal roofs can strain the budget, but rubber shingles are pretty affordable.
However, some homeowners don’t like the look of recycled shingles. And they may be harder to find in your area, or depending on the product, they may not yet be approved for residential use.
If you don’t like the look of composite roofing and prefer a natural roof like wood, tile or slate, you still have some green options. You can avoid the high energy cost of slate and tile manufacture by using shingles salvaged from other buildings. There are also some wood shingles made from sustainably managed forests.
Although pleasing to the eye, natural materials cost more than most composites, and the heavier shingles, like slate and clay, use more fossil fuel in transport. Wood shingles don’t have great fire resistance and only last about 15-25 years. Also, the more brittle materials, like clay and slate, may crack from hail or falling branches.
Light-colored roofs save you energy costs.
White or light-colored roofs reflect sunlight, which keeps your home cooler and cuts electricity usage in the summer. The lighter the color and the smoother the surface, the better the reflective effect. However, any light-colored roof will perform better than a dark one.
Green roofs let nature work for you.
If you take your green lifestyle literally, you might even consider a green roof, an updated version of a sod roof with plants growing on it. The plants provide natural insulation and cooling. And of course, the organic material takes no energy to manufacture and will never end up in a landfill. They can be very beautiful and make an unusual visual feature for your home. They also help reduce water runoff.
Would you like to talk about materials that will work best in your situation? Contact us and we’ll help you find the best options for you and for the environment.