Did you know that specific materials create an environmentally friendly roof? And you don’t have to purchase an expensive solar system either.
Most homeowners won’t even consider environmentally friendly roofs because they assume they’re going to be too expensive. However, these roofing types may provide better insulation and protection from the elements, making them something you should consider.
Luckily, many common roofing materials have a similar system that can leave less of an impact behind. When you need a new roof, consider these choices for a greener home.
Metal Roofing Systems
Although metal roofs are more expensive than traditional asphalt, they are inherently better for the environment. Not only does metal leave less of a negative impact, but it can be both recyclable and installed using recycled materials.
And because metal roofs can last for many years, you aren’t throwing away roof tiles as frequently. The reduced waste and better service life make it a better system for a greener home.
Sure, metal roofs have their fair share of problems, as is the case with any material. However, if you are looking for a simple way to go green, metal roofing should be a contender.
So…Are Metal Roofs A Better Choice?
The most critical factor for many regarding what style of roof they choose often comes down to a matter of price. However, while metal roofs are usually more expensive than asphalt, they also come with added cost savings later.
While metal does conduct heat, these roofs typically send less heat down into the house. Usually, the tiles retain the energy and transfer it through the asphalt, heating your home more than you’d prefer.
That means that metal roofing may prevent you from running your HVAC less often. You may find that the color of the metal roof may also contribute to more heating and cooling savings as well.
Lighter colored roofs typically reflect the sunlight. Dark colored asphalt shingles, on the other hand, soak in that extra light and heat, causing your home to warm in the process.
Other accessories, such as radiant heat barriers and rainwater catching systems, can be installed as well, helping your metal roof cooling even more. In fact, you may disperse enough heat or catch enough rainwater to reduce more monthly utility costs than before!
Health Concerns of Metal Roofs
Unfortunately, just because a building material is better for Mother Earth doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s best for you and your family. In fact, building a greener home should be less about the reducing your impact and more about creating a home that remains safe, secure, and comfortable to live inside.
Some metal roof systems still use lead as one of their components. Too much lead, even in small doses, can cause a range of mental and physical health concerns, including congenital disabilities, reduced mental capacity, and organ failure!
While it wouldn’t be prudent to assume that all lead-based roofs are dangerous, is this something that you want to risk? In the end, it’s just safer to buy lead-free roofing materials.
Safer building materials begin with hiring a better contractor. Poor quality companies may take shortcuts, some of which may include dangerous material types.
Be sure you are hiring a fully licensed, insured, and qualified roofer that uses safe materials. Even if the roofing is right, terrible installations can lead to water leaks, which in turn breed mold and mildew.
You might also want to contemplate changing the shape of your roof to make it even more difficult for water and moisture issues. A more steeply shaped roof will improve water runoff, making it even harder for water to pool and seep inside.
Finally, keeping your attic ventilated correctly can prevent mold from growing. Metal roofs don’t insulate as well as other roof types, so ensuring that your attic is dry and “breathes” right is crucial.
Not only are poorly ventilated roofs more at risk for growing mold, but they are more expensive when they allow heat and cold to pour inside. Living green means running the AC less often, not just having a fancy roof!
As was mentioned earlier, metal roofs are a handy material to recycle. That means that, depending on its exact material composition and the skill of the installer, some metal is just better for the environment than others.
Metal roofing tiles advertised as recycled typically contain some mixture of aluminum, copper, and steel components. In fact, some roofing materials are entirely 100% recycled!
Choosing these roofing materials means you are preventing more waste from winding up in landfills. They also prevent more energy loss from occurring in their production, creating more energy savings.
You can also keep an eye on what is being thrown out. As much as 90% of renovation and remodel waste can be recycled in one way or another.
Unfortunately, if you have an existing metal roof and you plan on replacing it with greener materials, you may be forced to throw most of the original roof components away. Unless a box gets marked as “recyclable,” you’ll probably have to send it to the dump.
Don’t feel too bad about it, though – merely making the change to a roof that requires less heating and cooling costs is the first step. The less energy you need, the fewer fossil fuels you depend on, decreasing your impact.
But What Will the Cost Be?
It’s true that greener materials are going to cost more than traditional roofs, and you aren’t going to recoup the savings anytime soon. Even if you can tie your new roof into a system that pays you for your energy reductions, it’s still going to cost more.
If a greener roof isn’t feasible, you may find other ways to convert your home to be more environmentally friendly. Be sure to weigh each of your options carefully before going for the higher costs.