“Green” and “sustainability” have become popular buzzwords in the home design world. It’s with good reason, too. Green homes are energy-efficient, offer lower operating costs, increase property value, and, most importantly, reduce a home’s environmental footprint. Ultimately, deciding to go green with your home design leads to happier and healthier living.
But you don’t have to go entirely net-zero with your home’s design to make an impact. Small changes towards sustainability can have significant effects. One of the best places to integrate sustainability is on your home’s roof.
What innovative roofing trends have taken the market by storm? How can you do your part to create a better tomorrow with your roof’s design?
Let’s get into some roofing trends to make your modern home a green home.
When it comes to roofing, the most notable change is there’s an insurgence of alternatives to asphalt shingles. In the hot summer months, traditional asphalt shingles absorb heat into your home, causing you to crank up the air conditioner. This not only causes you to spend an excessive amount of money to keep your house cool, but it also means you’re using more electricity. And standard electricity requires the use of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gas emissions.
That’s why going green and having a green home often revolves around energy efficiency. Standard electricity is bad for the environment and pollutes the air. Your goal in selecting a sustainable roof is to choose an energy-efficient material versus a non-efficient one.
One example of an energy-efficient roofing material is metal. Homeowners with metal roofs save around 40% on energy costs, thanks to the fact the roof reflects the sun rather than absorb it. Other energy-efficient shingle options include tile and luxury vinyl. Energy Star has a rating certification program that rates roofing materials based on their ability to reflect heat.
So, if you’re in doubt, look for Energy Star rated materials. As far as sustainability goes, there’s only one truly one-hundred percent sustainable roofing material, and that’s wood. Unfortunately, wood is expensive and is incredibly difficult to maintain, not to mention the fire hazards.
So, metal wins in sustainability and energy efficiency. If you want to choose another roofing material, you can always look for recycled options to be greener.
The shingle option we didn’t mention is solar shingles. Solar shingles aren’t just energy-efficient; they produce energy. Solar shingles are like mini solar panels produced to look like asphalt or tile shingles. They serve as your regular roof, increase property value, and look beautiful. The downside to solar shingles is they’re incredibly expensive to install.
If cost isn’t a problem for you, solar shingles are the way to go for a truly sustainable roof. However, just deciding to go solar and add traditional solar panels to your roof is a significant way to transform your standard roof into an energy-efficient, sustainable powerhouse. While the upfront cost of solar panels tends to be high, they pay for themselves over time in energy savings, and most people end up making money, thanks to incentives, by making the switch to solar.
The solar trend is one that isn’t going anywhere. In fact, experts predict by 2030, 20% of all electricity in the United States will be through solar energy. The solar roofing trend is the most substantial trend to jump on to make your modern house green.
You can’t discuss energy efficiency and roofing without talking about insulation. The truth is even the most energy-efficient materials won’t matter if your insulation is subpar. By having proper insulation, your roof is already greener, but sometimes homeowners care more about recyclable and non-harmful products.
If you want to use truly recycled insulation materials, you can opt for sheep’s wool, cotton, or denim. People looking for the highest level of recycled materials are trending towards those three materials. If you care mostly about energy-efficiency, you’ll want to lean more towards something like polyiso roof insulation, which is both sustainably produced and effective. Most roofs use some variation of spray foam insulation, so as long as your roof is insulated correctly, you’ll ensure your energy-efficient roof is as effective as it should be.
Also, a quick note on insulation, be sure you have air and moisture barriers around your roof, too. Again, the goal here is to keep as much of the outside air outside to maximize energy-efficiency.
Go Green: Make Sustainable Roof Upgrades
If you want your modern home to be green, you’ll want to ensure your roof is up to the task. To go green with your roof, you simply have to choose sustainable and energy-efficient materials, buckle down on insulation, and invest in solar power. Making these switches will not only create a green roof, but you’ll have a more sustainable home overall.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.