Post by Jun 16, 2023 4:45:46 PM · 3 min read

Sustainable Roofing: A Guide to Sustainable Roofing Materials and Options

If you are looking for ways to make your current house more sustainable or thinking about building an eco-friendly home, start with the roof.

Roofing is an essential factor in how energy efficient and eco-friendly a building can be, and the roofing industry offers many different ways to incorporate “green” elements into the design of your home. With sustainable roofing materials and options, you can reduce your carbon footprint, have a minimal impact on the environment, and benefit from cost savings in the long run.

What Is Sustainable Roofing?

Sustainable roofing systems are roofs that are energy efficient, produce clean energy, use eco-friendly materials, etc.—in other words, investing in sustainable roofing means you take the environment into account when choosing materials, installation methods, or other roofing options.

Some sustainable roofing is based on recycled or reclaimed materials that have a lower environmental impact. Another option is to choose sustainable roofing options that are long-lasting and durable, so they use fewer resources to produce.


Sustainable Roofing Options: How to Make Your Roofing System More Sustainable

Introducing sustainable options, practices, and materials into your residential or commercial roofing system can save you time, money, and energy while also offering environmental benefits.

Install Adequate Roofing Installation and Ventilation

Roofing installation and ventilation affect the temperature of your home. Installing adequate roofing installation and properly venting your roof can regulate temperature, reduce the amount of energy your house consumes, and lower your heating and cooling bills.

Recycle Old Roofing Materials

Some types of roofing—such as metal or wood shakes and shingles—are recyclable. If you are getting a new roof installed, recycle old roofing materials when possible for a more sustainable roofing option.

While asphalt shingles are usually not recyclable, some roofing companies provide the option to recycle them into material for paving sidewalks, streets, and parking lots. Instead of letting your old roofing materials end up in a landfill, explore your options for recycling them.

Set Up Solar Panels

Solar panels generate electricity from the sun, saving you money on energy expenses, reducing your carbon footprint, and increasing the value of your property. You can have solar panels installed on your roof or even invest in a solar roof, which is made up of solar panels designed to look like regular roofing materials, for an appealing look.

Add a Cool Roof Coating

Cool roof coatings are designed to protect your roofing system from sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Not only do cool roofs absorb less heat, but they also can extend the life of your roof and reduce energy expenses.
If a roof replacement is not in your budget, a cool roof coating, paint, or membrane is a great and sustainable roofing option.

Use Eco-Friendly Roof Materials

When installing a new roof, choose eco-friendly roof materials.
Look for sustainable roofing materials that are light in color, so they naturally reflect the sun’s rays and lower your cooling costs. Additionally, see if you can select roofing materials made from recycled content—ideally a type that is also recyclable at the end of the roof’s lifetime.

5 Types of Sustainable Roofing Materials

There are many different types of sustainable roofing materials available today. Keep in mind that there are several ways for materials to be considered sustainable, such as their longevity, durability, recyclability, and energy efficiency.

  • Metal Roofing

    Metal roofs are extremely durable, attractive, and long-lasting, and they require very little maintenance. This type of roof is usually made from recyclable aluminum, which can also be reused or recirculated at the end of the roof’s lifespan. Metal roofs are reflective, too, which can lower your energy costs.

  • Slate Roofing

    Slate roofing is made from rock cut into slabs, and it is sustainable because it has an exceptionally long lifespan—up to hundreds of years, with little maintenance required.

    This type of roof does require extra roof framing because of its heavy weight, but it is also incredibly durable and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Clay Tile Roofing

    Clay roof tiles are made from natural clay, a plentiful resource that is also durable, recyclable, and heat resistant. Clay tile roofing is also known as terra cotta roofing and is especially popular in the southwest region of the United States.

  • Wood Shingles and Shakes

    Wood shakes and shingles are one of the most truly sustainable roofing materials because they are made from wood, a renewable, recyclable, and sustainable resource. This type of roof is less durable than slate, metal, or clay roofing and requires regular maintenance, but it also has stronger insulating capabilities and may even be naturally pest-resistant in some cases.

    Additionally, wood shingles and shakes are biodegradable, meaning they are easy to dispose of in a sustainable manner.

  • Green or Living Roofs

    Living roofs are gaining in popularity in both the commercial and residential roofing industry. These green roofs have living materials, like grass or other vegetation, growing on the rooftop. This type of roof offers exceptional insulation, absorbs rainwater, and lowers heating costs.

    However, green roofs also require regular maintenance, mowing, and watering to keep the vegetation alive; they also need additional reinforcement and a heavy-duty membrane to support their weight and keep water from leaking inside the home.

Contact the Chicago Sustainable Roofing Experts at Champion Roofing

Champion Roofing is a recognized leader in the Chicago roofing industry. Our professional roofing contractors are committed to using sustainable roofing materials and installing energy-efficient roofing systems on residential and commercial buildings. We offer a range of services, including roof inspection, maintenance, repair, and replacement—all featuring the high-quality work that comes with 30 years of experience serving residents in the Chicago area.

Our roofing team is ready to guide you through your project every step of the way. Contact us today to get a free quote.

Your roof is worth the investment.