Homeowners in 2017 may choose to upgrade their properties with an environmental focus in mind for a number of reasons, including:
- Energy savings: Green options often save money because they reduce heating and cooling bills for homeowners.
- Fewer resources: Some environmentally friendly home repairs use fewer raw materials and may only rely on responsibly manufactured components—a victory for the consumer and the planet.
- Green goals: Homeowners might not care about cost but do care about their home’s environmental footprint. With green options, these owners can be confident they are making responsible decisions before, during, and after installation.
Roofing is one area that offers homeowners plenty of green choices. Here are seven environmentally friendly roofing options to consider if your goal is saving on energy bills, saving the planet, or both:
1. Cedar shake roofs
Wooden roofs provide one of the best options for homeowners exploring environmentally friendly roofing. Cedar shakes (as well as cedar shingles) are not so much manufactured as they are harvested; no chemicals or pollution-spewing factories are involved in the process. Also, cedar roof manufacturers harvest wood under a sustained yield forest policy, meaning forests aren’t being irresponsibly clear-cut just to put a roof over your head. Cedar shake roofs also last a long time—you won’t be tapping the environment for another replacement for decades, and when you do, the wood can be recycled for other uses.
2. Metal roofs
Speaking of longevity, metal roofs can last 50 years or more and are better resistant to the elements than other roofing materials. Moreover, metal roofs are “cool roofs,” reflecting much of the sun’s energy and maintaining a balanced temperature between the roof deck and the home underneath. The result is smaller energy bills because you aren’t absorbing as much sun during the summer but are more efficiently trapping heat during the winter.
3. Slate roofs
Slate roofs also offer long life, outstanding durability, and excellent insulation. Plus, slate is produced from environmentally friendly natural clay or rock, which, again, reduces manufacturing pollution and allows for recycling when the roof is replaced.
4. Flat roofs
Flat roofs are more associated with commercial buildings, but if your home’s top lacks a slope, environmentally friendly options are available to make the most of the architecture. For example, GAF’s EverGuard material reflects solar radiation, insulates well, and provides a tight thermal envelope. It’s also completely recyclable and uses an inert chemical that does not release unwanted fumes over time.
Solar continues to increase in popularity with homeowners, but installing panels isn’t as easy as climbing a ladder and drilling some holes. Your current roof must be able to support solar, or you must replace the roof with one that permits such installation. Seek a roofing contractor that not only is an expert in installing solar panels, but also has the know-how to identify if your roof is suited for such an upgrade.
One way to decrease your energy bill is to not turn on the lights so much during the day. Skylights built into your roof provide natural light that is both elegant and energy-saving. Furthermore, daylighting has been shown to offer health benefits—you can be green without feeling blue.
7. Environmentally conscious roofers
Your choice of contractor plays a big part in environmentally friendly roofing. As already stated, a qualified roofer is imperative if you want to consider adding solar to your home. Moreover, the best contractors—especially manufacturer-certified contractors—are experts in the latest green options available for installation. Finally, environmentally conscious roofers don’t toss your old roof into a landfill, but rather deliver asphalt or wood shingles to a recycling facility so that the material can be reused for other applications. If going green is important, you will enjoy the peace of mind that your roof will be useful even after it’s been replaced.
What environmentally friendly roofing options have you considered for your home?