Green Up Your New Roofing System
Replacing the roof creates a great opportunity to make energy efficient improvements. It's likely your home can’t support a green roof, but there are other choices homeowners can make to “green” up the new roof system. Familiarize yourself with these six options to green up your re-roofing project.
1. Recycle the old roofing materials.
If you’ve decided to tear off the old roof before installing the new material, we recommend recycling it. The average roof typically weighs thousands of pounds, which is no small amount to put into a landfill. With a few exceptions, nearly all old roofs can be recycled.
Some of the biggest benefits of recycling asphalt shingles include:
- Millions of tons of waste are kept out of the landfill.
- Recycled shingles are economically viable and convenient.
- Commonly used to pave roads, they negate the need for new asphalt production, conserving resources.
- It reduces the amount of new oil needed for construction.
- It saves taxpayers' money.
2. Conduct an energy audit.
Energy audits can be a sound investment if you’re interested in improving the efficiency of your home.
An energy audit is conducted by an inspector who uses professional equipment to look for points of energy loss in the house. They’ll point out areas that can be improved and suggest techniques and materials to help increase the home’s energy efficiency.
If the roof is completely removed for the course of the replacement, an energy audit professional can work from the top of the house to the bottom. They’ll inspect the attic, bathrooms, ventilation systems, the hot water heater, and more.
3. Improve attic ventilation.
Attics with proper ventilation systems greatly increase the energy efficiency of your home and roof.
Attic ventilation acts to move a steady stream of air through the attic, which prevents hot, stagnant air from settling and clears out moist air.
Certain homes pose challenges to adequate ventilation, like if the roof doesn’t have a long ridgeline. An attic fan can make up for a lack of ventilation. If you're replacing the roof, calculate how much attic ventilation is necessary to ensure your home has the proper amount of air movement.
Almost all building codes call for a ratio of 1/300 — For every 300 feet of attic floor space, there should be 1 square foot of ventilation space.
4. Consider cool roofing materials.
Cool roofing materials and coatings greatly improve the energy efficiency of a home. Choosing to install lighter-colored shingles or metal, or coating existing tiles with a white reflective layer, will help to decrease the temperature of the roof on hot summer days.
Rather than absorbing the sun’s rays, these materials reflect them, decreasing overall heat absorption. The cost of cool roofing materials is a sound investment, as you’ll quickly make back the difference in saved utility costs.
5. Hire a true professional.
Of course, no singular element will be enough to “green” up your roofing system. But proper ventilation, shingle color, insulation, and more all work tangentially to increase the roof and home’s energy efficiency. And perhaps most importantly, all of these components need to be installed correctly to maximize their usefulness.