Picking out a new roof can be hard when you’re just looking at roofing contractors, cost, durability, and appearance, but it only gets more complicated when you try to factor in environmental consciousness as well. Trying to find the best solution that fits all your needs can be a daunting task, but once you look at the facts, it may be simpler than you think. To help you pick out the right roof for both you and the environment, here are the facts on the five most eco-friendly roofing materials according to roofers.
Recycled Shingle Roofing
To start with, you have the simplicity of recycled shingles. In spite of what the name might imply, they aren’t made of other shingles that have been recycled. Instead, they are made of various recycled materials, including plastics, rubbers, and even wood. The exact type and source of recycled material will vary according to the classification of the shingle, but they fortunately have a variety of labels to help you figure out which would be best for your home.
For example, some recycled shingles are made mostly from consumer waste, meaning the type of thing you put out in the recycling bin. Other recycled shingles are made from industrial waste and what comes out of factories.
Though the name may trigger some skepticism, recycled shingles are actually just as durable as other types of shingles. They’ll last for years and when you finally do get done with them, you won’t have the burden of knowing that you just created fresh waste for the world. This is the most common type of roofing in Portland and the northwest. It is of made good use of recycled materials and now they can go through the cycle once more and potentially get recycled again.
Using wood is one way to make a greener roof, but you have to use the right kind. Specifically, you want to avoid certain luxury woods that are valued for their natural appearance, but are depleted much faster than they are regrown.
Instead, you want to ask your roofers to get wood shingles that are made from either local renewable resources or reclaimed lumber. Just like with regular recycled shingles, you can make a big impact by participating in the recycling process.
One of the biggest fears about wood roofing is that it might catch fire or wear down quickly, but both of those are easily dealt with. It’s true that untreated wood is flammable and won’t stand up to the elements for very long, but treated wood shingles have nearly as much longevity as more standard roofing materials.
To many potential homeowners, metal roofing is often looked at as an option meant more for commercial and industrial purposes, but it has a place in residential roofing as well. In fact, metal roofing can offer some very impressive environmental benefits that you can’t find anywhere else.
To start with, metal roofing lasts half a century and requires minimal maintenance. You won’t need to replace your roof at any point in the near future if you go with metal. Compound that with the fact that many metal roofs are made out of recycled materials and you get an extremely efficient system.
On top of that, metal roofs are pretty unique when it comes to reflectivity. Many other roofs absorb a lot of light and heat, especially when it comes to darker materials. This can pose problems when it comes to maintaining insulation for your home, but metal roofs don’t have that problem. More heat reflected means less heat absorbed and less of a strain on your air conditioner during hot summers.
Slate roofing is generally considered a luxury option and isn’t necessarily at the front of the mind when it comes to environmental consciousness, but it actually does the job pretty well.
With other materials, you may need to replace your roof in a few short decades, but with slate, it could be nearly a century before serious replacement is required. In the same time span that you might need three separate asphalt shingle roofs installed, you could get by with a single slate roof.
Furthermore, slate roofing does have a recycling aspect as well. Consult your roofing contractors because you might be able to get reclaimed slate tiles that have a lower environmental impact.
Installing a green roof is probably the single best way to help the environment when it comes to roofs, but there’s a lot of work involved as well. Not only do green roofs require extensive maintenance, they also might simply be against regulations in your neighborhood.
Simply put, a green roof is the usage of plants on top of your house to reap a variety of rewards. They plants absorb sunlight, meaning that the light is no longer heating up your building. This is helpful in suburban and rural environments when it comes to driving down cooling costs, but it’s doubly effective in dense urban settings where it can drive down the temperature of the entire city. To sweeten the deal even more, green roofs also reduce rainwater runoff.
Even if you can’t create a full green roof for your house, you can apply some of the same principles. An entire garden on top of the roof might not be viable, but some plants that creep up the side of your house might work similarly.