One of the hottest trends in residential roofing is going green. Homeowners not only want to find ways to save on costly utility bills, but also conserve the environment. The demand for green roofing options has steadily increased as more and more people become more money and environmentally conscious. The biggest reason homeowners have held back from making the switch is a lack of knowledge in regards to green roofing. The most common question people ask is, what is a green roof? People are not completely sold on the money saving achieved with a green roof installation either. The truth is green roofs are an excellent way to save the environment and money at the same time.
For starters, a green roof is any roof that utilizes a green technology. Often people think that green roofs have grass, shrubs and other vegetation growing on it. Roofs containing vegetation are considered living roofs and can either be extensive or intensive. Because of the added expense and complexity of a living roof installation, they are not a practical roofing option for most residential homes. On the bright side, there are other green roof alternatives that do not require a garden for a roof. If you are in the market for a new roof then recycled synthetic shingles, cedar shake, tile and metal roofing all have the potential to be a green roof option.
If the objective is to have a new roof that is not only eco-friendly and green, but also easy on the wallet, then the following are a few things to consider. The biggest thing to consider is making sure that whichever roofing product is chosen has as little negative effect on the environment as possible. Next, homeowners should look for durable roofing materials. A durable roofing material will last a long time and hold up to the elements, meaning a longer lifespan. Purchase roofing materials that are local. Local roofing materials cut down on transportation expenses and pollution from emissions. Try and find roofing materials that cut down on chemicals, energy use and pollution out puts during the manufacturing of the product. To meet consumers’ needs, manufacturers are incorporating more green practices into the manufacturing process. Finally, the last things to consider when looking for a new roof are heat reflecting abilities to reduce unwanted heat, high UV resistance to slow down roof decay and added curb appeal.
The most commonly used residential roofing material is asphalt shingles because they are the least expensive roofing option. On the flip side, they are also the least eco-friendly roofing material available. Asphalt roofs are not only bad for the environment, but have the shortest lifespan of all the roofing options, typically only 15 years at most. In hot weather they release toxic gases and deteriorate quicker due to intense UV-rays. When it rains they also leach toxic chemicals as well. They are rarely recycled and account for roughly 11 million tons of waste in U.S. landfills. However, there are long lasting composition asphalt shingles that have a 50 year lifespan, but they have virtually all the negative side effects as traditional shingles.
Cedar shakes are another popular yet expensive roofing choice. Americans love cedar shingles for the charm and character they add to a house. While they are very pretty they make a very poor roofing option. Cedar shingle roof installation is a very time-consuming and tedious process that typically requires a professional to properly install. They are extremely flammable and most municipalities ban their use. Another problem is that the best type of cedar shingle is crafted from old-growth trees, which is a non-renewable resource because of the long time it takes to mature. They require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to keep them functional and attractive. Recycled synthetic shingles are a good substitute for cedar shingles and are composed of wood fibers and recycled plastic. They are UV-resistant, fire-resistant, long lasting and light weight. They have a lifespan of up to 50 years.
Two of the best green roof alternatives are tile and metal roofing. They both are very long lasting and incredibly durable. For example, with proper maintenance a slate tile roof can last for hundreds of years. There minimal waste, pollution and energy usage during the manufacturing process. Both have recycled versions on the market. There are also various different types and styles to choose from. An added bonus is both options are offered in a wide range of colors and have UV-reflective properties. On the flip side, a major low point is both materials are expensive compared to other roofing alternatives. The cost of a roof installation using one of these products increase dramatically because they weight more requiring more structural support. Expert installers are also highly recommended for any roof installation involving these materials.
Before installing a new roof, do some research to find out which green roofing option works best for your home. Going green will make a substantial impact on the environment and move the world in the right direction of a cleaner tomorrow.