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Mar 11

The Advantages of Green Roofing

There are some general principles to keep in mind while considering the options available for green roofing. Materials used should be durable, have low maintenance, endure the elements, and be reflective. The longer your roof lasts, the less the cost of replacement. Lighter colored roofs reduce heat gain and keep the temperature of the roof low so that heat doesn’t get transferred into the home. Dark roofs are a contributory cause of the urban heat island effect, a phenomenon in which temperatures in cities are regularly much higher than those in the surrounding countryside. This is because dark roofs absorb extra solar energy. Because roofing is currently the second largest contributor to solid waste generation in the U.S. it is important to choose recycled roofing materials.


There are various green roofing products which range from recycled-plastic shingles to recycled metal roofs to sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood roofs. Your choice will depend on factors like the design of your home, local building codes and cost considerations. Although they may cost more than asphalt shingles, they are far more durable and their installation will probably result in substantial savings not only in regard to cost, but also by way of energy bills and lower insurance rates which add value to the home while addressing environmental issues. A few of the green roofing options are given below.


Recycled Synthetic Shingles

Shingles made from recycled waste materials like plastic, rubber or wood fiber are extremely popular. They are generally extremely durable and attractive as well. An important advantage with these is that they cut down the need to extract and process raw materials as they divert large quantities of waste from landfills resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced pollution. Many of these recycled shingles are themselves recyclable and come with 50-year warranties, while some have a fire rating that could lower insurance rates.


Wood Shingles and Shakes

The amount of energy it takes to produce this popular product is relatively low, but the harvest of old-growth western cedar trees from which these shingles are made is not sustainable in the long run. These shingles are also combustible and cannot be used in areas where there is a risk of forest fires. Where local building codes permit, some companies offer wood shingles made from reclaimed lumber garnered from mills, bridges, old water and wine tanks. The processing of the shingles is done locally to reduce energy and transportation costs.


Slate and Clay Tiles

Slate tiles are very durable, but are expensive as mining and transportation costs are energy-intensive. Slate is also non-renewable.  Clay tiles too are very durable though not as much as slate. Salvaged slate and clay roof tiles are offered by many companies.


Benefits of Green Roofing

The installation of green roofing brings with it several benefits both to the surrounding community as a whole and to the individual homeowner.

Green roofing of the vegetative type, in particular, acts as a natural filter of pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air, contributing to lower incidence of respiratory diseases. If carried out on an extensive scale in city areas it would definitely have a salutary effect on the urban heat island effect. Such roofing also helps filter pollutants and heavy metals out of harvested rainwater.

Roofing that uses recycled materials also has long-term benefits to the environment by way of reduced emission of greenhouse gases. This is because scarce raw material resources are conserved, far less energy is spent in production and the waste materials which otherwise would occupy the landfills, are transformed into long lasting and attractive shingles and shakes.

To the homeowner, some of the benefits come by way of reduction in energy bills, harvesting of rainwater for gardening purposes, improved temperature conditions within the home, federal and local tax incentives and an overall increase in the real estate value of the home. Of course, the type of roofing you choose will also depend on the climate you live in. For instance, those in Seattle roofing options will need to consider the high precipitation Seattle is subject to.


Author Bio:

Jennifer Rossi has worked for 6 years as a real estate agent.  Her interest in interior decoration and home improvement led her to pick up practical tips on home repairs and renovations. From replacement windows and doors to siding, roofing, landscaping, re-modelling patio rooms and sun rooms, Althea shares her knowledge through articles that she hopes will provide her readers with the information they’re looking for.

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