Every year, 7 million homes need a new roof in the United States. This puts 11 million tons of asphalt shingles into landfills! These things are a non-renewable, petroleum product – and they require replacement every 15-20 years. Unfortunately, this increases our dependency on fossil fuels.

Fortunately, there are some environmentally-friendly roofing material options out there that can be used when building a roof.

White Roof (Cool Roof)

A roof that has a light color or is white-colored, is known as a cool roof. Light or white roofs are referred to as cool roofs because it reflects most of the sun’s rays, thus having a cooling effect on a house. Cool roof systems also add an advantage as the air conditioning will not be used during the day, which will then cause a reduction in energy bills through the summer months.

Corrugated Roofing

Corrugated roofing is durable and is a strong and economical green homes design. With the advanced technology today, it does not come in a translucent plastic form or wavy sheet of metal but instead, has various colors and styles due to its versatility. While extremely durable, there are cases it needs repair and it is very easy to do so.

Green Roof

A green roof is a layer of vegetation planted over a waterproofing system that is installed on top of a flat or slightly–sloped roof. Green roofs are also known as vegetative or eco–roofs. Planting a green roof has numerous benefits especially in urban areas since it helps to moderate the heat effect and it cleanses the air. In addition, a green home design reduces the amount of rainwater runoff, offers you home additional cooling and insulation, and above all its natural beauty supplements the appearance of your house.

Reclaimed Slate or Clay Roof

Clay and slate tiles have been used for roofing for ages. Reclaimed tiles are the most eco-friendly open for roofing. The curve of a red clay tiles style of roofing is perfect for a Spanish design, while slate tiles pair wonderfully with the look of classy historical homes. Now there are even light-colored clay tiles that offer the benefits of a cool roof system as well!

Shingle Roof from Recycled Materials

Most shingles sold told are made from recycled content such as plastic, wood fiber, and rubber. Recycled shingles are affordable and a perfect alternative to those who can’t afford the expensive slate roofs. They are durable with a life span of over 50 years and the roof also offer green benefits. When people use this roof, there will be a reduction of waste as well as the need to process new raw materials.

Rubber Roof

Old steel-belted tires is the material used for reinforced rubber shingles. The shingles are then coated with ground slate to enhance texture. Rubber roofing comes in various colors, is resistant to storms and other harsh weather conditions, and can last for up to 50 years.

Environmentally Friendly Roofing Options

Standing-seam Metal Roof

Metal roofs are advantageous to green homeowners, but also anyone looking to invest in a good roof. Metal roofs can last up to 50 years, and can also be manufactured from recycled materials. They are also fire-resistant.

Shingle Roof

Shingle roofs are also called sustainable wood shake. Wood shingles are sustainable, because they feature natural materials asphalt are harvested and replanted. They are biodegradable, as they can be recycled and chipped into garden mulch. They also help fight pollution. Roofing materials for asphalt require fossil fuels to make, but natural products can be used to make wood shingles. Last, they are naturally energy-saving. Cedar acts as a proven natural insulator, so cedar singles can help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Questions To Ask When Considering Eco-Friendly Roof Options

Before you buy a roof, ask the following questions:

  • What is the roofing material made of?
  • Is your home’s existing frame strong enough to withstand the roof being proposed?
  • How does the roof rate when it comes to Energy Star and LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council standards for eco-friendly building materials?
  • How long will the roof last? It should be under a specific warranty for years of performance.
  • Will the old roof be recycled?
  • What kind of maintenance is required? A “green” roof covered with vegetation will require more maintenance than a roof made of recycled rubber tiles.
  • Is the roofing contractor highly experienced and highly rated on sites like Angi, the Better Business Bureau, or other independent sites that verify the quality of the roofer’s work?

If you’ve installed an eco-friendly roof, what did you choose and why?