When considering your choices in making your home as green and eco-friendly as possible, there may be one thing you haven’t thought about – the roof. The roof is just supposed to do its job and every so often, it has to be replaced. Homeowners typically replace their roof materials every 15 to 30 years.
You want eco-friendly materials, so that eliminates some materials outright. Let’s get the unwanted’s out of the way first.
Not Renewable Roofing Options
The material most often thought of is asphalt. It’s more popular than the rest, but it’s also possesses the shortest lifespan, is not renewable, and contains toxic materials. The initial price is its single most attractive quality. Long-term costs are actually higher.
Asphalt is made from petroleum-based fiberglass with asphalt and ceramic granules. Liquid asphalt emits chemical pollutants when applied. Top it off with the shortest lifespan, 15 to 25 years; its inability to be recycled; and you have the least desirable roofing option.
Slate roofing tiles have an incredible life span and are recyclable, but not renewable. In other words, once it’s harvested from the earth, it can’t grow back. This is also the most expensive option, but you wouldn’t have to worry about replacing it for a hundred years or so.
Renewable Roof Materials, Some More Green Than Others
Of course wood is a very green and renewable roofing material and cedar shakes are twice as insulating as asphalt. Wood shingles, however, have to pass building and fire code restrictions. In order to pass inspection, toxic fire-retardant are soaked into the wood, making whatever green aspect they had disappear.
Recycled rubber will last from 30 to 50 years, has been recycled, but isn’t necessarily renewable. The price is manageable, they are good insulators, and imitate real materials like metal and slate. The plus is it’s made from recycled rubber and plastics. The minus is, it’s rubber and plastics.
Metal shingles are made from different types of metal, such as aluminum, copper, steel, and tin. Lasting up to 50 years, metal is renewable and recyclable. It’s initially pricey, but is as insulating as asphalt and wood, and the coolest roof reflecting the sun away. Much of it is now manufactured from recycled metals. Finally, clay parallels metal pros and cons and is arguably one of the most natural materials to use.
When considering your options, discuss your choices with your New York, Chicago or Orange County Roofers. Where ever you live, there are options to make your roof renewable, green, and durable.