Green Roofing Materials for Homeowners

Green Roofing Materials for Homeowners

The roofing industry offers an array of environmentally friendly "green" choices. If you’re wondering how durabile they are compared to traditional products on the market, green roofing materials that are recyclable or made of recycled materials compare favorably with traditional roofing.

When you’re thinking about green modeling, you’ll hear the word sustainability a lot. That means building for longevity while conserving the environment, minimizes replacement costs, and requiring less landfill space. Sustainable roofs last longer and require less energy, materials, and money to replace them.

Roof sustainability consists of four main elements: 1) Durability 2) Materials 3) Energy Consumption and 4) Reuse/recycling


Green roofing materials and durability go together. Durability is synonymous with longevity. The more durable a product is, the longer it remains in service and the lower the total cost to the environment will be. Using durable products also reduces pollution and landfill waste. Recycled aluminum, adobe blocks or steel roofing for example, outlast less durable products such as asphalt shingles.

Another example is an environmentally friendly roofing product called Ecoshake Shingles. Ecoshake shingles are made from recycled vinyl and wood fiber and come with a 50 year warranty.


Green roofing materials are the second element. Manufacturers are trying to create products that take less energy to make. This includes the amount of energy needed to extract raw materials, to process ingredients and to transport the finished product to the job site. Builders can start thinking green by using materials that contain recycled components

Energy Consumption

Energy Consumption is foremost on everyone’s mind these days. A good energy plan will produce immediate bottom-line results for you personally.

An example of this is insulation. Insulation has been shown to be good for the environment by cutting down on carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions. In the winter, roof insulation holds needed heat in a building and in the summer, it keeps out unwanted heat. Most summer heat gain is from the roof top. Something as simple as using a reflective coating or a lighter color roofing material (light reflects rather than absorbs sun light) can save you money in the long run.

Which roofing materials are most energy efficient?

Metal roofing, when installed properly, creates an air space that retards heat migration into a building. The barrel shape of the tiles on a Spanish tile roof provides a similar function and is very popular in warm climates. Radiant barriers also reduce heat (a thin film of aluminum stapled to roof rafters).


Reuse/recycling is the fourth consideration in green roofing materials. We have the technology ready and available today. The more builders and homeowners demand products made of recycled, reusable, and recyclable materials, the more manufacturers will deliver.

So, what can you personally do to make your roof green?

Green Roofing Materials for Homeowners

—Use engineered lumber for framing (engineered wood is made from wood fibers bound with adhesives, resulting in less wood waste than solid-sawn lumber).

—Use low or no formaldehyde strand board.

—Use recycled newsprint or recycled newsprint and agricultural fibers for roof decking to eliminate waste.

—Try Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for building a roof. This reduces the amount of framing lumber and cuts energy losses.

—Roofing felt made from recycled paper products reduces landfill and saves on the demand for natural resources.

—Metal roofing from recycled steel or aluminum utilizes wastes and saves energy, and the durability reduces replacement and maintenance costs.

—Shingles made from recycled materials such as sawdust, cement, recycled rubber etc. puts waste to good use and provides lasting performance.

—Other green roofing suggestions include the concept of using the roof as more than protection against the elements. A day-lighting system can bring additional light into your rooms and of course solar panels to utilize active and passive solar systems.

As you can see, there are many options if you want to employ green roofing materials. When planning to remodel or build using ecological guidelines you will want to keep the four sustainability guidelines in mind (durability, materials, energy consumption and reuse/recycling).

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