We have all incorporated some green lighting, green cleaning, or green energy into our homes, so why not a green roof? There are a couple reasons why a roof can be considered green, or environmentally friendly. It can be made of recycled materials—like plastic, wood, metal, or rubber—or it can be considered green if it can be recycled again at the end of its life span. Not to mention, the longer a roof lasts, the better it is for the environment.
1. Recycled Shingle
One of the greenest roofing materials is shingles made from post-consumer or post-industrial waste. The reason they are considered so environmentally friendly is because they consist of redirected waste from a landfill and because there is no need to extract raw materials to make them. The best part is that some come with a 50-year warranty and can also be recycled again at the end of their life.
2. Slate and Clay Roofs
A good reason to roof with slate and clay is that they are both natural and durable materials that can last hundreds of years. Typically these two materials can’t be recycled to their original condition, but they can be salvaged and used in other ways after their life span expires.
Slate and clay are very heavy and the structure of a building must be inspected before considering these options to make sure the building can handle the weight. Clay shingles are also best used in warm climates because freezing and thawing in cold climates will damage clay easily. Slate and clay also have reflective properties that help keep a home cool.
3. Rubber Roofing
Believe it or not, rubber roofing is made from recycled, steel-belted radial tires from cars. Typically, there is a 50-year warranty on them, which usually includes hail damage. Rubber roofs come in a variety of colors and are coated with ground slate to add texture. However, before considering this option, you should check building codes in your area because rubber roofs are not permitted in some communities.
4. Metal Roofing
Metal roofing has many great qualities, one being that it can be recycled again and again and again. But to see that happen, you would have to live forever, as a metal roof can last 50 years or more. Metal roofs are also durable, fire-resistant, and they reflect heat from the sun, which reduces cooling costs for your house.
Metal roofs are great for cold climates because accumulating snow and ice will slide right off. If you have ever lived in a cold climate you know how destructive ice dams can be, but with metal roofing there will be no such thing.
In the summer, you can collect rain water that slides off your roof and not have to worry about any residual chemicals leeching from the roofing material. This is just another environmental perk of a metal roof—you can use the recycled water for your garden or to wash your car.
Things to Consider
Shop around for your best roofing option. Consider fire and hail ratings on the warranty—it is a good idea to check with your insurance agent. Also, some roofing materials may qualify you for a reduction in the cost of your homeowner policy.
Be sure that the roofing options you choose are not against any codes in your area and that the structure of your building can withstand the weight of the materials.
Remember that a green roof may cost a little more up front, but will outlast the traditional asphalt shingle by two to four times. You save money in the long run, and if you ever decide to sell your home, a green roof is a great selling point that adds value.