Green Roofs

Greenhouse - Green Home - Green Roofs

Green RoofingThe longer a roof lasts the "greener" the roof. The roof of a home is very important and is often overlooked. The roof is a vital part of the home building process that will protect the home from natural elements and fire. The roof will also help control the flow of air and moisture. As well as insulate the home from extreme temperatures.

Climate - Climate is a huge factor when you consider the type of roof you wish to install for your home. It is very important to choose the proper roof for your location so the roof lasts as long as possible.

  1. Hot, tropical climate - You want to choose a roof that is a lighter color as well as a radiant barrier to minimize the solar gain. Lighter colors reflect the light and help fight off heat. Where as darker colors absorb heat and hold it in.
  2. Snow or freezing climates - Choose a steep pitched roof. The reason will be, that if and when it snows the snow will not sit on your rooftops, which cause many pounds of pressure. The pressure could eventually cause your roof to cave or at the least crack. Insulate your roof if you live in freezing climates as well. The insulation will help prevent energy loss.
  3. Rainy climates, hails often - Choose a roof that is made of very durable, resilient materials. Choose shingles for your roof that are thicker than average if you live in this climate.

Solar Panels - Remember that if you are building a truly green home than you will want to prepare the south side of your home for solar panels. Solar panels are very efficient when it comes to energy. Most solar panel racks are connected to rafters or trusses and flashed correctly to prevent leakage.

Roofing Materials - A sustainable roof should be durable, low in toxicity and framed with engineered lumber or roof trusses to conserve the most wood. Roofs may be made out of many options of natural or manufactured materials. The most popular choices are wood, concrete, tile, sheet metal, and slate. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing the material for your sustainable building is to choose the material for your climate that will have the longest life with the least amount of maintenance.

  1. Metal Roofing - Metal roofing is wonderful option when it comes to roofing materials. Metal last a life time, is fire resistant, the lighter color and reflective color help control the heat, and it will not fade or chip. More often than not metal roofing is up to 50 percent recycled materials and in some cases up to 100 percent. The one thing to pay attention to after you install a metal roof is deep scratches. A scratch that has broken through the top coating can possibly rust in the future. Try to find metal roofing where the protective coating has been baked on, not sprayed. However, stay away from copper, galvanized steel, or zinc coated materials. When water runs off the copper and zinc coating it is toxic to wildlife and is extremely polluting.
  2. Asphalt Shingles - Even though asphalt shingles are the least expensive and most popular choice in building today, the standard size are NOT the greenest option. Standard asphalt shingles will only last 15 - 20 years and are rarely ever recycled or made from recycled materials. A wonderful alternative which lasts at least 50 years is staying with asphalt shingles but choosing a much thicker, heavier option, which will last twice as long. They may be more expensive, but you will save money, and contribute less to land fills in the long run.
  3. Cedar and Wood Shingles - We are trying to save cedar trees. They are reducing in numbers year to year. This is definitely NOT a green option for shingles on your home. These types of shingles may be attractive to some because they are considered to be rot and insect resistant. However, they are very expensive. Another popular wood shingle is made from Yellow Pine. These particular shingles are treated with many chemicals: preservatives, fire retardants, and moss inhibitors. Although wood shingles are not the most green option they do last a while and are very durable. If you can find an option that is not treated with many chemicals and is guaranteed to last 50 or more years, than it is an ok option.
  4. Clay Tile - This option is most often found in Florida or California, warmer climates because the design has a cooling effect. But because these tiles are set with space for air to flow through they will not be a great option for places that receive hail or heavy snow storms. Clay tiles last very long and do not have any harming run off when it rains. These tiles are definitely a suitable green option.

A few more options will be recycled content roofing, slate, concrete, and EPDM rubber. All of these roofing material options have their pros and cons. Just remember to choose the correct roofing material for your climate and it will be durable, which will make your option greener.

Your roof should at a minimum be replaced every 50 years. If you find yourself replacing your roof around every 15 years than there are many other greener options for you. Above are many options for you to choose from, durability and low maintenance will keep your roof green.