Greenest Roof for Your Home

The ‘greenest’ roof might not be what you’d expect.

When most homeowners think of a ‘green’ roof, they think of an organic roof, such as wood shake or clay tiles. However, the ‘greenest’ roof for your home is the one that lasts the longest, is 100% recyclable, and is the ‘coolest’. And, that’s metal panels, such as standing seam.

wood shake on a roof

As our landfills fill-up we try to find ways to make things last longer, stretch our dollar, reuse materials, and reduce our use of those materials. As our climate warms-up, we think about ways to make our home more energy efficient, such as new, energy efficient windows, and closing the blinds and windows early in the morning during the hot Summer months to keep the hot air out. New energy efficient heating and cooling systems also help. Solar panels are great as they provide free energy (once they’re paid for). But, most of us forget about our roof.

Some roofs, such as clay tiles, don’t reflect heat and solar radiation as well as others. Tile roofs are also the most expensive, and can break under foot or from hail. Other roofs, such as asphalt shingles, are initially the least expensive, but are not recyclable in our area, thus not very eco-friendly. And, they don’t last very longer. Stone-coated metal shingles last longer than asphalt shingles, but they perform the worst with respect to solar reflectivity, unless you have white. Even then, they don’t perform as well as metal panels.

new standing seam metal roof on new home construction

Why Metal?

It is for the above reasons why metal panels are the greenest roof for your home. When your current asphalt shingle, tile, or wood shake roof is ready for replacing, seriously consider metal roofing. A metal roof will cost more, initially, than traditional shingles. However, they often cost less in the long run given they last so much longer.

What’s more, metal panels reflect more heat, and release more absorbed heat than any other steep slope roofs. Consider Owens Corning’s EnergyStar Rated Duration shingles in Shasta white (only Shasta White is EnergyStar Rated). They have an initial solar reflectance of 25. (the closer to 100, the better). The average standing seam metal panel roof, has a solar reflectance of around 67. Not only will a metal roof cost you less in materials, they will also save you money in your cooling bill during the Summer.

infofgraphic showing roofing options for solar reflectivity and heat emittance

Metal roofs are also recyclable. When your metal roof is finally ready for a new one, you’ll sleep better knowing you can have it recycled. Check your local area for a metal recycling center near you. In Fort Collins, there’s Colorado Iron and Metal that recycles most metal roofs. There’s Atlas Metal & Iron in Denver and Aurora. In Greeley, there’s Andersen’s Sales and Salvage.

Today’s metal roofing comes in a huge array of colors. And, all metal roof colors are more energy efficient than any clay or concrete tile, and any color of asphalt shingle, including Owens Corning’s Shasta White.

Getting metal panels from some metal roofing manufacturers has been a challenge recently. This is why we decided to move production in-house. Doing so has shortened lead times, saves us and our customers money, and improves product availability. Some folks are concerned about the appearance of a metal roof, until they see our work.

But, Wood’s Recyclable

True. A lot of wood is recyclable locally, but not treated or painted wood. Wood shake and shingle roofs must be treated to resist rot, mold, mildew, hail, etc. The City of Fort Collins, for example, does not accept treated or painted wood in their recycling program. As a result, your wood shake/shingle roof ends-up in the landfill. Therefore, they aren’t that ‘green’ after-all. Maybe you’re thinking you can burn your old wood shingle/shake roof during your next BBQ? You probably shouldn’t. Again, that wood’s been treated and you probably shouldn’t inhale that smoke, or cook with it. 😷

The Bottom Line

The greenest roof for your home isn’t the one made from wood or clay, but the one that lasts the longest, is recyclable in our area, and helps cool your home – that’s sheet metal roofing, such as standing seam. If you would like an estimate on a new metal roof, contact us. Roofing estimates are free, as are roof inspections.