If you are building a new home or replacing the roof on your current home, you may be looking for some eco-friendly roofing options. Depending on the type of home or building you own, and the needs you have for your roof, there are a variety of eco-friendly roofing options to choose from. Below are a few ideas to consider.
Repurposing plastic, rubber, or wood is one eco-friendly way to fix your roof. By purchasing shingles made with recycled materials, you can achieve the look and feel of traditional shingles, without using 100 percent new materials. Recycled shingles offer your roof the same protection as traditional shingles, but they are more environmentally friendly.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to install wooden shingles to your roof. Before investing in them, check to make sure that they do not violate your city’s codes or ordinances, as some places see them as a greater fire risk than traditional shingles. While wooden shingles are less toxic and take less energy to produce than other types, some people feel that cutting down old cedar to create shingles may not be particularly environmentally friendly.
Zinc roofing has a long life span, is highly durable, 100 percent recyclable, rustproof, and fireproof. Zinc roofs are ideal in snowy areas because the snow will simply slide off the roof, unlike with shingles. Zinc is one of many metals that can be used for roofing, and the average metal roof lasts for up to 50 years. Metal roofs also eliminate the need for installing a roof with toxic chemicals and asphalt.
One way many homeowners in large cities green their roof is to add a rooftop garden or green roof. Rooftop gardens are eco-friendly in a couple of different ways. They add oxidizing plants, flowers, and foliage to the local environment and have also been shown to provide an additional level of insulation, leading to lower heating and cooling bills. Rooftop gardens can also be used to produce fruits and vegetables or other greenery. If your roof is not flat or easily accessible by foot, you may be able to install green roofs with lightweight foliage or moss.
Roofs are an ideal place to add solar panels, as they have an unobstructed view of the sun. Solar panels will reduce or eliminate your need for traditional electricity altogether, and they will provide a reflective layer of protection on warm and sunny days.
An inexpensive way to reduce your energy consumption is to paint your roof white, or install white or light colored shingles to your roof. A lighter colored roof will reflect 70-80 percent of the daily sunlight, compared to darker roofs, which only reflect 10-20 percent of light. This allows you to reduce your cooling bills during the spring and summer seasons.
If you have greened your roof as much as possible, but are still looking for ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency, consider creating additional shade by planting strategically placed trees in your yard. They will need adequate time to grow to a height in which they can provide your home with additional shade, but fully-grown trees can lower your homes temperature by as much as nine degrees. Additionally, you can also plant shrubs and bushes outside windows with direct sunlight. While the shrubs and bushes will help to create shade and block the sun, they will still emit an adequate amount of light.
This article was written by Jared Miret, father and home handyman. If you like the idea of a zinc roof, he recommends Wade Architectural Systems, a leader in metal solutions.