Each time the sun’s rays come in contact with your roof, light is reflected back up and cities go through what is called the “heat-island effect,” a phenomenon that is damaging to the atmosphere. Thus, if you want to help save the environment, one of the things you can do is to install an eco-roof for your home or building.
When shopping for an eco-friendly roof, consider the following materials that you will find today, as well as the level of environment friendliness that each one offers:
Even as it was popular back then, wood has ceased to be a sustainable option, being made from the harvest of old-growth trees. Should you pick wood shingles, however, at least buy those that were made from reclaimed or FSC-certified lumber. And take note that roofs made of wood are highly combustible and are actually not allowed in certain parts of the U.S.
Primarily clay or slate, tile is manufactured from natural material and is exceptionally durable. However, mining and tile transportation is normally very energy-intensive. The material does have impressive longevity and may be ordered in lighter colors, allowing it to reflect light instead of taking it all in. Moreover, it is easy to recycle tile and clay tiles, in particular, can help with ventilation. They are common in hot climates due to their curved shape and high density, which works by trapping cool air inside.
If you live in a dry climate and usually collect rainwater from your roof for household use, metal, a highly durable and fire-resistant material, might just be your best choice. The risk of chemicals leaching into the water is minimized. Although metal is not a cool roofing material itself, you can paint it with a light color and reflective coating to enhance its cooling properties.
Typical asphalt shingles are petroleum-based products, which means they need a lot of energy to make. But, considering that this material is the least expensive option nowadays, that can be compensated with 40 or 50 year-rated shingles or recycled shingles, which are produced using from recycled waste materials like wood fiber and plastic. In fact, recycled asphalt shingles are the most environment-friendly roofing material you will find today, since using them means a large amount of non-biodegradable waste is diverted from the landfill, and thus no energy is spent for processing raw materials.
For a greener asphalt shingle roof, use light-colored shingles that control light reflection and make a “cool” roof. It’s also good to install radiant heat barriers as a way to increase insulation, while initial rainwater catchment systems will move water into your garden.