Making Your Roof Environmentally Friendly

A roof is your home’s first line of defense. It protects your home and its contents from the ravaging effects of the elements. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an older one, it is important to incorporate eco-friendly roofing options. In addition to safeguarding your possessions, you can save money on your utility bills and protect the environment.

Environmentally conscious homeowners have several options. One popular choice is solar panels. The technology has evolved significantly in recent years. Solar panels enable you to access the sun’s clean and renewable energy. The panels can provide electrical power as well as light and heat for your home. They can also power water and pool heating systems. In addition to reducing your reliance on the traditional power grid, you may be eligible for state and federal tax incentives. Some utility companies purchase the excess energy that the panels generate from their customers.

Another environmentally friendly roof option is solar shingles. The roofing material contains photovoltaic cells that have the same dimensions as conventional roofing shingles, but they function like solar panels. Your family’s energy consumption is one of the factors that you need to determine if you want to provide power for the entire house. If you only want to reduce your utility bill, you can incorporate a few solar shingles into your existing roof.

You can also use recycled products, such as synthetic shingles. These composite shingles are manufactured from old tires, plastic bottles and similar recyclables. The design can mimic the look of asphalt shingles as well as high-end roofing materials, such as cedar shakes or slate. Synthetic composite roofing is flame retardant and inhibits algae. Some products also resist mold, hail damage and fading due to sunlight.

Your green roof design can feature fiber cement shingles. This resilient material comes from recycled paper pulp or locally sourced cellulose fibers and cement. The product resembles shingles but is heavier like tile. They typically last longer than natural wood or asphalt shingles. These roofing materials are available in a wide range of colors. It is a popular choice over wood shingles in areas where termites are a threat.

Wood shingles require the use of trees and may need frequent replacement due to water, mold, mildew and other damage. Some people still consider the shingles a green choice because they come from renewable resources. If you reside in a historic district, the building restrictions may require that you use wood shingles to maintain the original appearance of the home. You can use wood that is naturally resistant to weather and pests, which enables you to reduce your reliance on chemical treatments. You can reduce the impact on the environment by using locally grown wood products. The wood should be certified and sustainable.

A newer product is polymer shingles made almost entirely from recycled plastic. The polymer is injected into molds at high pressure to produce shingles that imitate slate. These proven shingles resist weather and are recyclable.