Want to be as environmentally friendly as possible? Whether it’s for new construction or making repairs, there are plenty of ways to make your roof green. Here are a few materials you can use, and a few additions to your house that can make a big difference.
1. Recycled Shingles
Modern manufacturing and recycling processes can do wonders with old materials like plastic and wood fiber. Recycling post-consumer and post-industrial waste keeps it out of the landfills while requiring less manufacturing energy at the same time. You don’t have to sacrifice good looks, either. Recycled shingles look just as good as shingles made out of virgin materials.
2. Wood Shakes & Shingles
Wood is a renewable resource, unlike the oil used in some roofing materials, which means you start with green points right from the beginning. Add a few more by using sustainably harvested wood, or even shakes and shingles made out of reclaimed wood.
3. Slate Roofs
Slate has been used for centuries as a natural roofing material. Many slate roofs have been known to last well over a hundred years and still look great. Reclaimed slate roofs are even more green than new ones, and you can expect the same durability from the stone.
4. Metal Roofs
Metal roofs can be made out of a variety of metals, with aluminum alloys being one of the most common choices. Roofs can be made out of anywhere from 50-95% recycled metal and made into a wide variety of shapes. They’ll last you decades, and when you do decide to get rid of the roof, the metal can be recycled.
5. Reinforced Rubber Shingles
These are technically recycled shingles, but they deserve a special mention. That’s because a large number of these are made out of recycled tires that would otherwise be heading for the landfill. The tires are shredded and reformed into attractive shingles that are great for insulation and durability.
6. Get a Light-Colored Roof
Most of these green options come with options in a variety of colors. Consider getting ones that are either reflective or on the lighter end of the color spectrum. This will reflect light away from your house, helping to keep it cooler and keep cooling costs lower for your house.
7. Add Solar Panels
Solar panel technology isn’t quite to the level where they can completely supply the power needs for a house year round, but they’re getting close. Panels that are positioned correctly can help take care of some of the biggest energy drains like powering your air conditioner, heating your water, and more.
8. Install a Green Roof
A green roof is a great option if your building has a flat roof. Your entire roof can be covered with dirt and plants to create a garden. This adds to the amount of oxygen and green in the area while also giving you great insulation. As an extra bonus, buildings with roof access get more recreational area.
9. Add Roof Overhangs
One of the biggest uses of energy is cooling houses, especially in warmer locations. Cut your energy usage drastically by adding roof overhangs. These will help cool your house and block most of the direct sunlight through the windows.
10. Invest More Up Front
Truth be told, some eco-friendly options will cost more than cheap asphalt shingles, such as solar panels or slate roofs. Not only will these options help the environment, but they’ll also save you money in the long run. Better efficiency and lower energy use means that you spend less on utilities. Better materials that last longer means that you’ll spend less on repairs and won’t have to replace the roof as soon, which can add up to a lot of saved money.