9 Tips for a Green Roof
By investing in durable, eco-friendly roofing materials, you cannot only avoid the inconvenience of replacing your roof every 15 years, but you can also avoid sending large volumes of old roofing material waste to landfills.
✔ Avoid using asphalt shingles for a green roof – While asphalt shingles are by far the most popular type of shingle used on residential homes (accounting for approximately 90% of the market) 12, they are not the greenest choice. They are a petroleum-based product, require a lot of energy to manufacture, have a relatively short lifespan (15-20 years), and account for a large percentage of the construction waste that is shipped to landfills every year.
✔ Consider recycled content asphalt shingles – If your budget does not allow for some of the more expensive, but longer lasting materials, consider recycled content asphalt roofing. Recycled content asphalt shingles contain recycled waste paper and/or use reclaimed material slag in their aggregate surfaces.13
✔ Use materials with a long lifespan – There are many different roofing materials available on the market. While all roofing materials will need replacing eventually, there are options that can last up to 5 times longer than others. By choosing these materials, you will not only save money in the long run, but you will also reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
- Long-life Asphalt Shingles – Again, while not being the greenest choice due to the method of manufacture and the difficulty in recycling, there are greener asphalt shingles becoming available. Some varieties of long-life asphalt shingles are rated from 30-50 years. Try to find shingles made from recycled content.
- Slate – Slate tiles take the prize for durability with a lifespan of over 100 years. Made from natural rock, slate tiles handle weather better than any other material. Not appropriate for all roofs and more expensive than most other options, slate is probably the greenest option available.• Steel – Steel shingles are an excellent option to consider. With a lifespan of over 75 years, these are among the most durable shingles on the market. As an extra benefit, steel shingles are usually recyclable.
- Aluminum – With a lifespan of over 50 years, aluminum shingles are another excellent option. Aluminum shingles come in a variety of finishes and are appropriate for most roof slopes. Aluminum shingles can be made of 100% recycled material.
- Ceramic Tiles – Ceramic tiles are made from kiln-dried clay. They have a lifespan of over 75 years and are very resistant to the effects of weathering. Ceramic tiles can be recycled at their end of life.
✔ Avoid copper or zinc-coated steel roofing materials – Both of these materials will eventually leach into water, causing contamination.
✔ Install light colored roofing – Light colored roofing reflects, rather than absorbs heat from the sun, resulting in a more energy efficient home.
✔ Install radiant heat barriers – Radiant heat barriers are a thin layer of metal insulation (usually tin foil with a paper backing), which can reduce radiant heat transfer into your attic by as much as 95 percent when installed to the underside of your roof.13
✔ Install a rainwater gathering systems – You can reduce your monthly water bills by installing cisterns or drums to catch valuable rainwater for landscaping use.
✔ Consider Installing Solar Shingles – Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) Shingles – BIPV shingles are solar panels that are designed to look more like traditional shingles than typical photovoltaic systems.
✔ Avoid roofing adhesives – Most roofing adhesives contain high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can off-gas into the air and make their way into your home, eventually compromising indoor air quality.