Do you plan to build a new LEED certified green home? Need to replace the roof on your current house? Have you thought about sustainable roofing options?
Sustainable shingles often use reclaimed or recycled materials and are sometimes cheaper than traditional shingles. Although some options may be more expensive, the superior quality lasts a lifetime.
So, are you curious what kind of options you have? No problem! I’ve got the lowdown on the five popular types of sustainable shingle choices.
If you’re building or restoring a Victorian style home, you’ll probably use wood shingles. While these seem like a great option, you have to be careful about where the wood comes from. Pick wood shingles made from reclaimed or recycled wood, and avoid buying shingles harvested from forests.
As nice as wood shingles look and as affordable as they may be, they have their fair share of issues. First, they generally have low fire danger ratings. Second, depending on snow and rain exposure, wood shingles weather, warp and crack from water damage.
Clay or slate tiles
If you’ve been to the western U.S. – or even a Taco Bell – you’ve seen this type of roof. Clay shingles are durable and withstand some of the hottest temperatures imaginable. Many clay roof manufacturers offer warranties spanning 100-years or more. Even though the initial price is rather expensive compared to traditional roofing options, you’ll get your money’s worth over time.
The problem with clay shingles is they’re a bit pricey and heavy. The other issue, similar to wood shingles, is that you want to try to purchase reclaimed tiles. Mining clay and slate takes a lot of energy and isn’t a sustainable process.
Metal roofs have become increasingly popular over the last few years because they’re inexpensive and fairly easy to install. Plus, this type of roof offers homeowners many benefits. Metal Roofing Detroit notes, “It will outperform conventional asphalt shingles under adverse weather conditions including high winds, hail, snow and rain.” They add that these shingles also have a higher fire rating than asphalt ones. Lastly, most people opt to purchase metal roofs because they keep interiors cooler when the mercury rises.
You’ll want to be cautious and ensure that the metal doesn’t have a hazardous chemical coating. Rain and snow could strip it off and pollute nearby soil and ground water.
Recycled shingles are composed of materials like wood, plastic and rubber. They’re melded together and often end up looking like slate roofs. Recycled shingles are incredibly durable and have high fire safety ratings, much like metal roofs.
Despite their durability and use of recycled items, these types of shingles cost a bit more than traditional asphalt ones. Experts also note that these shingles are heavier and more difficult to install.
I’m sure you have a puzzled look on your face, but living roofs are more common than you think. A living roof is generally covered by grass and vegetation. The Ford Rouge Factory utilizes a living roof system because it lowers heating costs, is lightweight, and lasts much longer than a traditional roof. A more colloquial application is seen on hobbit-style homes.
One drawback here is that you might have to mow and water your roof from time to time. Also this roof application wouldn’t work in dry areas, like the southwestern United States.
Before you slap any of these sustainable roof options on top of your home, also consider these points:
- Make sure the roof can hold up in your weather and climate.
- Find out the fire danger rating. Some of these could lower your insurance rate, but some could raise them.
- Check that the shingles you want to use meet local building codes.
Sustainable roofing options are a great option if you’re building a new home or need to replace your current roof. Find out more from your local contractor to see if one of these is the right option for you.
Would you use one of these shingle options on your home? Share your thoughts with other Zing readers!
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