Green Wednesday: 5 Roofing Types Rated on Eco-Friendliness

From on April 30, 2008 in Green Remodeling

How green is your roofing? By this, I refer to standard materials as opposed to roofs with solar panels or actual plantlife growing from them. Low Impact Living recently published a great piece on roofing types, and much of the info is highlighted below. Remember, the roofing types mentioned here are not rated on the basis of cost or beauty, but more so on durability, maintenance, composition, and disposal. Find your next roofing type and give your own roof a grade. Asphalt – Thumbs Down

  • Asphalt is often dark-colored, which means it absorbs heat and raises outdoor temperatures. This can actually increase community air pollution and air conditioning costs!
  • Since it’s made from petroleum products, they release pollutants when they’re manufactured.
  • Doesn’t insulate well.
  • Often not recyclable.
  • Won’t last as long as other options.

Metal – Thumbs Up

  • They’re not perfect, but they’ve got some redeeming qualities. While they take a lot of energy to manufacture, they last up to twice as long as wood or asphalt.
  • Also, they often come in recycled materials.
  • Their temperatures are cool and their looks versatile.

Wood Shingles – Thumbs … Sideways

  • It’s difficult to argue with the time-valued and traditional, especially when wood is now available in FSC certified shingles.
  • They’re twice as insulative as asphalt.
  • They’re prone to cracks, moisture damage, and decay.

Clay – Thumbs Up

  • In addition to looking good, clay’s a great insulator and lasts over 50 years.
  • They come in light colors that deflect up to 50% of the sun’s solar energy.

Slate – Thumbs Up

  • It takes a lot of energy to extract and quarry this non-renewable resource, but recycled options are available.
  • Once installed, slate will last a long time and will remain durable during it’s lifespan.
  • When it’s served its time, slate can be recycled.


Remember, in addition to the above choices, there are also new recycled roofing materials available, as well as a myriad of other choices. Talk to a certified roofing contractor today to get started!