The call for sustainability continues to grow in various aspects, including building construction. In modern times, eco-friendliness is not enough to consider building materials sustainable. They must also be renewable, made to last, cost and energy-efficient, and obtained without high expenses or without causing damaging effects.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 600 million tons of construction and demolition (C&D) debris were produced in the country in 2018. Out of the total generated C&D waste, almost 25% was disposed of in landfills.
Recently, New York’s city council approved two local laws that reinforce the city’s sustainable roofing policies under the Climate Mobilization Act. It requires new residential and commercial constructions to have a “sustainable roofing zone” where solar panels or green roofing are installed or both. It aims to reduce the negative environmental impact while improving people’s lives.
Picking the suitable roofing type for the house is often challenging for homeowners, especially when keeping in mind sustainability practices. To evaluate their options, residents can consider the following roofing types for their new roof:
Also known as solar roofs or solar roof tiles, this roofing type is made of small panels designed to resemble asphalt shingles while working like traditional solar panels. They use a photovoltaic system to generate energy and can last for about 20-30 years. When solar shingles have reached the end of their service life, they can be recycled to reduce waste production.
Green Roofs or Living Roofs
Often used by commercial buildings, a green roof or a living roof derives its name from the vegetation that grows on top of the property. It consists of several roofing layers, including protective materials, a waterproofing layer, engineered soil, and the plants.
This roofing type checks all the sustainability factors and provides additional benefits such as improved air quality and natural resources from plant products. A green roof’s life expectancy ranges from 30-50 years.
Cool roofs are made of durable materials designed to reduce temperatures by absorbing heat or deflecting the sun’s energy. These construction materials may come from new or recycled sources, like certain types of plastics and rubber.
This roofing type is beneficial to both the property and other surrounding structures because of its provided energy efficiency. The average life span of cool roofs is about 20-50 years.
Metal roofs are a versatile option for property owners. They can be sourced from new or recycled alloys, which come in various styles like metal sheets, metal tiles, or metal shingles.
This roofing type is also energy efficient. Like cool roofs, it also has reflective properties and provides insulation to the building. With proper care and maintenance, metal roofs can last for 70 years and even up to a century.
Efforts to adopt sustainable practices increase continually for environmental conservation and the improvement of people’s quality of life. Government agencies are becoming more stringent in imposing laws that emphasize the need for sustainability, especially when it comes to residential and commercial building constructions.
Whether property owners are building a new roof or doing a re-roofing project, they should consider using a more sustainable option to maximize their investment and reduce negative environmental impact. Using sustainable materials helps prolong their roofs’ lifespan and lessen their expenditures on utilities and frequent repairs. They can also enjoy a better living space, making their homes a more comfortable place to live in.
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