Is it time for a new roof? If so, you might be wondering what types of environmentally friendly roofing exist and whether your New Jersey roofing contractor offers any of these ecofriendly options. As more and more people become conscious of the environment and as new technologies have been developed, the number of green roofing options available have grown. Today, we’ll walk you through the different types of ecofriendly roofing that are out there and review the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.
Green Roofing Options
Ecofriendly roofs can be divided into two types: those that are designed to be ecofriendly and those aren’t purpose-built for environmental friendliness but are nonetheless “greener” than some of their counterparts. Let’s review those that are purpose-built first:
Since your roof directly faces the sun for much of the day, it can potentially absorb or deflect a tremendous amount of heat and light each day. Realizing this, manufacturers have developed an array of environmentally friendly roofing options that can support your household’s needs at the same time. If you live in a very hot climate, for example, you might consider what’s known as a cool roof. Available from some of the top names in roofing, such as CertainTeed, cool roofs—also known as solar-reflective roofs—are able to reflect the sun’s rays in order to reduce heat transfer and prevent those rays from heating up the building upon which the roof sits. At the same time, a cool roof has thermal emittance properties, which means it also radiates or emits the solar energy that isn’t successfully reflected.
What’s more, cool roofs no longer have to white or even light-colored. Today’s residential cool roofs are available in a range of colors, including rich, dusky hues such as blue and gray—even black! Solar-reflective shingles can reduce your energy bills by preventing your home from overheating in summer. As an added bonus, the reflective nature of these roofing materials mean they deteriorate less quickly, so they can remain on your roof—and out of the landfill—for as long as possible! Also, since these cool roofs are made from asphalt shingles, plenty of NJ roofing contractors can install them.
As roofing technology has advanced, new ecofriendly roofing options such as composite roof shakes and shingles have been developed. These green roofing materials are made to look like wood shakes and shingles, but they are actually made almost entirely from recycled materials such as post-industrial plastics, fibers, and elastomers. These roofing shingles won’t rot, blister, or crack, and they’re resistant to mold, mildew, insects, and fire. They look just like wood, but they last much longer. What’s more, these recycled-material roofs are even available as cool roofs! These roofs cost about the same as cedar-shake roofs, but they’re more expensive than asphalt-shingle roofs.
Another type of green roof is one that’s literally alive: also known as an eco-roof or a living roof, this type of roof is designed to encourage the growth of vegetation. A home with a living roof appears to have a garden, meadow, or lawn growing upon the top of the structure and includes a waterproof layer, root barrier, drainage system, and some sort of lightweight substrate, such as perlite, that provides the plants a place to grow.
Living roofs can be slanted or flat and, depending on an array of factors such as your desired upkeep, climate, location, and budget, may include a range of plants and other features. As you might suspect, these vegetated or green roofs can’t simply be installed by any old NJ roofing contractor. A vegetated roof must be carefully designed by structural engineers and landscape architects. While it’s possible to have a green roof in a cold climate like ours here in New Jersey, these roofs are most practical for warm-weather climates. While it will undoubtedly be a unique conversation starter, it will also require a great deal of maintenance and upkeep and will be susceptible to other issues common to gardens, such disease and pests.
Traditional Roofing Materials
There are also plenty of roofing materials available that are more traditional and have been around for years: standing-seam metal roofs, wood-shake roofs, clay tile roofs, and slate roofs are all fairly eco-friendly and many NJ roofing contractors work with them. Like any type of green roof, these roofs have pros and cons:
Metal roofs: Affordable, durable, long-lasting, reflective, and recyclable, these roofs are an excellent ecofriendly option. However, they’re also more expensive than asphalt shingles and may not offer the type of look you’re after.
Wood shake: When harvested sustainably, wood shake can be quite eco-friendly. It looks quite attractive and ages naturally to a silvery gray. However, it’s susceptible to pests, rot, and fire, and is often more expensive than asphalt shingles.
Clay Tile and Slate: Durable, natural, and extremely long-lasting, clay tile and slate are among the most beautiful roofing materials available, and thus are extremely popular on high-end homes. Unfortunately, due to the high-cost, they’re not an option for many people. They’re also very heavy and may require that additional structural work be done to the home.
Other Ways to Green Up Your Roof
Shingle recycling: Regardless of the type of roof you choose, you can opt to have your home’s old asphalt shingles recycled. Leading roofing manufacturers such as GAF work with certified green NJ roofing contractors who separate your shingles from the other discarded roofing materials and arrange to have them transported to the recycling center, where they’ll be ground into material that will be used to pave roadways and parking lots! Not all asphalt roofs will qualify for these recycling programs, but most do. All you’ll need to provide is a little extra space for a separate container that will hold the shingles.
Is an Ecofriendly Roof Right for You?
Now that you know all the different options that are available, will you opt for an environmentally friendly roof? Whether you’re considering a green roof or just want to recycle your old roof, it’s most important that you go with what’s best for your home, your needs, and your budget. As a New Jersey roofing contractor for nearly 40 years, George J. Keller & Sons can help you make an informed decision, so give us a call today at 973-927-0963!