Did you know 75 percent of the roofs in America are covered with asphalt shingles? This makes sense since they're cheap, easy to install, and resilient. But asphalt shingles actually aren't very insulative, nor do they last as long as other roofing materials. They're also made from petroleum products that, due to the layer of fiberglass between the asphalt minerals, aren't recyclable.
The roofs made from wood, metal, slate, or clay are all better for the environment than asphalt, they still have their drawbacks. If you're remodeling or building your own home, now might be a good time to evaluate some of the more eco-friendly roofing alternatives currently available.
WOOD SHINGLE ROOF
Wood shingles may be more natural and insulative than asphalt, but they're also more expensive and must be treated with toxic, flame retardant chemicals. They're also prone to moisture damage and decay.
- If you prefer the look of wood shake shingles, consider purchasing Forest Stewardship Council-certified shingles from True North Cedar or Koenig Cedar Company.
- Choose wood species from Armster Reclaimed Lumber Company and get the US Green Building Council's LEED certification.
- Re-New Wood's Eco-Shake is made from 100 percent recycled materials, reinforced vinyl, and cellulose fiber and is designed to resemble and replace wood shake shingles. Eco-Shake shingles withstand extreme weather conditions and are backed by a 50 year transferable warranty.
Metal roofs made from copper, aluminum, and stainless steel are highly insulative, solar reflecting, and durable, lasting twice as long as wood or asphalt. But if they're made from virgin metals, they require a lot of energy and cost to transport and manufacture.
- Green Star Roofing offers stone coated steel roofing material that is made from galvalume metal, the most recycled metal on the planet. Each metal roof is installed to envelope the existing roof material, which not only saves clients up to 30 percent on utility bills, it prevents non-decomposing roof material from ending up in the landfill. What's more, Green Star Roofing materials are 100 percent recyclable and the rainwater shed is potable.
- Classic Metal Roofs manufacture an Energy Star rated metal roof made from 98 percent recycled aluminum. Because they're solar reflective, the metal roofs pay for themselves in energy cost savings. Like Green Star Roofing, Classic Metal Roofs are installed over existing shingles so they protect the environment from waste.
- Get the rugged appearance of wood shake shingles and the energy efficiency and durability of metal roofing with Rustic Shingles from Classic Metal Roofing Systems. Made from 98 percent post-consumer recycled metals, these shingles can lower your summer cooling bills by up to 20 percent. And while they have the same realistic grain and texture of wood, they won't ever split, warp, mold, rot, flake, or deteriorate; nor will they require routine maintenance or replacement.
Slate may be durable and recyclable, but it's generally pretty expensive. Its major drawback is the fact that it's extracted from the earth and is a nonrenewable resource. Not to mention the major carbon footprint and energy required to transport the slate from quarry to rooftop.
- If you're still charmed by slate's rustic aesthetic appeal and variation of color, however, you should look into synthetic slate from Authentic Roof. It's made from high quality recycled polymers and indestructible thermoplastics; it's 100 percent recyclable; it's much lighter than real slate; and it's the cheapest roofing option per square foot compared to asphalt, metal, cedar, and real slate.
- You can also purchase reclaimed and salvaged slate from The Durable Slate Company or The Roof Tile & Slate Company.
Clay tiles are insulative, durable, and solar energy reflective. They're also more expensive than conventional roofs, as well as more difficult to salvage and replace.
- US Tile manufactures all natural, 100 percent recyclable, locally sourced clay tiles with a recycled material content of up to 59 percent. Their domestically produced products earned the Cradle to Cradle certification for environmental sustainability. And 80 percent of their naturally occurring colors meet the Energy Star requirements for sustainable roofing products. If this wasn't enough, their clay roofing is LEED qualifying and comes with a lifetime warranty.