One of the most expensive home improvement tasks you can take on is a new roof installation. Your home’s heat gain and loss is in part attributable to the roofing material, which is very visible, exposed to the weather, and takes a beating. Therefore, picking a strong, energy-saving material should be a top concern.
However, the issue of sustainability is a different one, and almost no roofing material can be considered really sustainable. You might be shocked to hear that sustainability is a broad category that can include many different types of roofing materials if your conception of a sustainable roof is restricted to a green or living roof.
What makes a roofing material environmentally friendly?
In addition to the raw resources it uses and the manufacturing process, a roofing material’s environmental friendliness is also determined by how well it performs throughout the course of its lifetime and how it is disposed of. The material’s resistance to heat gain and general durability are the primary performance variables, and they can have an impact on how much it costs to cool a home. You definitely need to request a sustainable roof when you do roof inspection from a roofing company.
What Qualifies as Sustainable Roofing?
More than any other element, the raw material is at the heart of the sustainability debate. A sustainable substance is one that is produced without permanently destroying or depleting its source. The condition that the material’s sourcing does not result in appreciable or irreparable harm to the environment is something that many environmental experts would also include. According to these criteria, any roofing material that relies on fossil fuels or mining-derived materials is not sustainable since both originate from a finite resource.
Roofing Material Sustainability Comparison
- A metal roof – Metal roofs need a lot of energy to make, but they are attractive, durable, and frequently have a high recycled content or are simple to recycle after their useful life.
- A slate roof – Slate is stunning, highly long-lasting (a slate roof can outlive a house), expensive, and heavy, and it requires a lot of resources to mine, process, and transport it.
- Roofs using Clay Tile – Clay tiles, usually referred to as terra cotta, are very sturdy, heavy, and expensive. Similar to ceramic tile, authentic clay tiles are manufactured by shaping and firing natural clay.
- Wooden shingles and shakes – Wood is a renewable resource, making wood shakes and shingles one of, if not the only, sustainable roofing options.
- Road Shingles – Standard asphalt shingles, also known as composite shingles, are generally relatively durable and, depending on the shingle design and color, can provide good heat reflectivity.
- Fiber-Cement and Concrete Tile Roofing – Portland cement, a material with a high energy need for production, is used to make both fiber-cement shingles and concrete roofing tiles. Additionally, it produces a large amount of CO2 emissions (a greenhouse gas).
- Rooftop Green Systems – Green roofs, also known as living roofs, are flat or low-slope roofs that are partially or entirely covered with vegetation, such as grass or other tiny plants, preferably indigenous species. A synthetic waterproof membrane and a growing medium (usually soil and inorganic elements) are also included in green roofs.
Choosing Sustainable Roofing Materials: Some Advice
- Recycled material – Verify the roofing material’s use of recycled materials. Generally speaking, a higher percentage is desirable, yet durability ultimately takes precedence. Additionally, make sure the material can be recycled once more after the roof’s useful life.
- Coatings – Avoid roofing materials with copper or zinc coatings because they can wash into water sources and pose a threat to aquatic life.
- Maintenance – Nobody likes to invest a lot of time or money on roof maintenance each year. Ensure that no harmful items are needed to maintain your roofing material and that it is made of a durable substance.
- Weight – Theoretically, the heaviest roof would be the greatest because it would be the most sturdy and unlikely to pull away in an accident.
- Roof pitch – Do you have a virtually flat, low, or high slope roof? Depending on the use, some roofing materials perform significantly better than others.
- Reflectivity and color – Look for roofing materials that are light in color and have a high reflectivity if you live in an especially hot region. Instead of heating your house like an oven, they will reflect more of the sun’s rays.
- Warranty – Choose roofing materials with the longest warranty you can find because this is a sign of strength and quality.
It is obvious that homeowners are concerned about the carbon imprint their homes are leaving on the planet as green building trends spread across the nation. There are several methods to include sustainability into the construction and design of your home, from tight-envelope homes to ones made of sustainable materials. Sustainable roofing materials are what people choose when attempting to build a “green” home, in case you’re building one or searching for a method to make your current home a little more environmentally friendly, contact SoCal Green Roofing.