My home will be needing a new roof in the not too distant future, and I have a record of features for this big-ticket item I expect to be able to tick off. I am seeking a roofing material that is long lasting, energy efficientand environmentally friendly and comparatively affordable.
Does such a roof exist? I put out to learn all I could about the present alternatives for eco friendly roofs came off with the five top contenders and three discretionary add-ons you will find here.
Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of every green choice, to allow you to discover the right ecofriendly roof for your home and budget.
Advanced Metal Roofing
White Roof, aka”Cool Roof”
Pros: A light-colored or white roof of any material can also be known as a”cool roof” because of this — it may significantly cool the roof’s temperature by reflecting the sun’s rays away from the home, keeping the interior of the house cooler as well. This reduces summertime bills and helps deter the”heat island” effect in cities. White asphalt shingles (such as the Energy Star–ranked GAF 25-Year Royal Sovereign White Shingles available at Home Depot) are similar in cost to normal, darker shingles, which makes this one of the least expensive eco friendly roofing choices.
Cons: Just because it’s a cool roof does not indicate it’s completely ecofriendly. When it’s made from asphalt shingles, then those are still oil based and are almost impossible to recycle. A metal roof in white can be a better choice.
See more about Energy Star ratings for roof materials
Smith & Vansant Architects PC
Standing-Seam Metal Roof
Pros: incredibly durable, long lasting, light reflective and completely recyclable, metal roofs are a great investment for anybody — not only green homeowners. You are able to ramp up the green factor by selecting a metal roof made out of recycled content and at a lighter color.
Cons: More expensive than asphalt shingles (though less than copper and slate), a standing-seam metal roof is a bigger investment up front. Also, homeowners in areas with heavy snowfall should include a plan for dealing with snow it slips right off metal roofs, possibly creating substantial drifts around the outside of the home.
The Benefits of a Metal Roof
Jeffrey Dungan Architects
Sustainable Wood Shake or Shingle Roof
Pros: Natural and biodegradablewood shingles from sustainably managed forests are a good option if you’ve got your heart set on the timeless look of wood shingles. The Green Depot carries FSC-certified cedar shingles.
Cons: Wood shingles are flammable, so that they may be controlled in some areas where fire danger is high. They’re also fairly expensive (the price is on par with metal roofing), and continue only 15 to 25 years, whereas metal roofs may last 40 to 50 years.
Reclaimed Clay or Slate Tile Roof
Pros: Durable and natural, clay and slate tiles have a lengthy history in roof and are still highly coveted today. Nothing complements a Spanish-style house better than the traditional curve of reddish clay tiles, and slate does wonders to enhance the look of elegant historic homes. Even longer-lasting than metal, clay and slate tiles may last up to 100 years. Clay tile may also be utilized in lighter colours, which supply cool-roof benefits. Salvaged tile is the greenest option, keeping usable tile out of landfills.
Cons: Clay and slate tiles are extremely expensive, typically twice as much per square foot as metal roof. Tile is also very heavy, which means some reinforcement of the roof is usually required, adding to the price. You can also anticipate regular maintenance costs to replace chipped and broken tiles.
Jeffrey Dungan Architects
Recycled-Content Shingle Roof
Pros: A growing number of shingles in the marketplace these days have recycled content, from those that mimic the look of cedar shakes (like those from EcoStar) to recycled slate-look shingles (like these available at Green Depot). These choices give an appealing lower-cost option to expensive slate and sustainable timber, while offering green benefits like a manufacturer recycling program along with a 50-year product life span.
Cons: From what I have observed, none of those recycled-content shingles available on the market today are available in white, so cooling benefits may not be optimal (though this may vary, as new products are always being developed).
Add-On Number 1: Solar Panels
Pros: Today’s solar panels are less expensive than they once were, may be fitted onto several styles of existing roofs (that portion of your roof facing south is important) and has the potential to save you a major chunk of change on your electricity bills in the long run.
Cons: The first installation costs are still fairly high, and you won’t recover your investment with electricity savings for several years. So if you’re planning to move anytime soon, it might be wiser to wait to set up solar panels on your next house.
Feldman Architecture, Inc..
Add-On Number 2: Green Roof
Pros: Adding insulation, cooling your house, cleaning the atmosphere and decreasing the amount of storm-water runoff are only a few of the benefits of incorporating a green roof to your house. Planting green roofs in urban areas may also help enhance the heat-island effect and add natural beauty to what’s usually a neglected space.
Cons: apart from the initial installation (which can be expensive depending on how big your roof and also the type of garden), a green roof may also need some structural reinforcement to encourage the burden of these plants and dirt.
Upkeep also may be an issue — even automatic irrigation systems and native plant gardens need maintenance from time to time, along with other roof repairs may be more difficult when workers will need to get areas under the layers.
See more cooling rooftop gardens
Add-On Number 3: Roof Overhangs
Pros: Roof overhangs are great ways to cool your house. When properly positioned, a deep roof overhang can shade your house from sunlight, reducing electricity and electricity expenses.
Cons: The price of adding a roof overhang may be high, but if you’re already planning modifications to your house’s structure or are building from scratch, then it may be well worth it to look into adding a deep overhang.
Feldman Architecture, Inc..
The bottom line: There is not any one-size-fits-all solution, but I was pleasantly surprised at the resource-saving choices in the marketplace today. From recycled products to only picking a lighter colour in a conventional roof material, there is a green choice to fit pretty much every budget.