Eco-friendliness and energy efficiency have been important trends in the construction of office buildings and other urban developments, but finally, the average homeowner is also beginning to incorporate green building elements into the design and construction of their homes. If you’re looking eco-friendly roofing ideas, here are 10 great options.
1. Living/Vegetated Roofs
One of the most favored and certainly the most attractive green roof option is a living roof. But, it’s harder to pull off than it looks. If you’re looking for an easy way to plant a garden on your roof, Green Paks are a smart way to go. Offered by Green Roof Blocks out of St. Louis, these affordable modules are made of a long-lasting, high density polyethylene knit. They come pre-filled with designer soil and, if you choose, pre-seeded with regionally appropriate plantings. Just cover your roof with Green Paks (with a drainage/root barrier layer in between), plant and/or water as necessary, and watch your living roof garden grow.
2. Finding the right plants
Experts in living roofs have been focusing more and more on plant selection. Until somewhat recently, plants for green roofs were chosen without any real consideration for climate. Now, horticulturalists are working with green roofing contractors to choose plants that are native to the region, thus requiring minimal care. Scientists have also developed grasses that are more drought resistant, making a living roof easier to maintain in drier climates.
3. Preventing runoff
A number of eco roofing companies have established drainage and runoff containment systems for vegetated roofs. They use special rubber edging to keep rain from draining out of the soil and plants, thereby preventing the runoff that pollutes our waterways. A living roof with a system like this could retain half of annual rainfall, but you’ll definitely want to make sure the membrane remains in good shape as pooling water has always been the arch nemesis of a roof.
5. Integrated Solar Technology
Solar panels have become a popular roof adornment for the eco conscious homeowner, but many problems can arise from improper installation, which is unfortunately pretty common. If you’d rather not go that route, thin film solar technology is emerging as a more appealing method of collecting solar energy. Manufacturers have incorporated photovoltaic solar cells into various roofing products, which are expensive now, but will soon be available to the mainstream.
7. Solar Tubes
As an alternative to skylights, solar tubes can also help you harvest natural light and save on your energy bills. They start with a plastic dome on your roof, then a tube funnels sunlight into any room using highly reflective fixtures. Solar tubes can provide enough light that you don’t have to use lamps or overhead lights. And if the sun’s not out (as usual), some models are fitted with LEDs to provide light when the weather is grey.
9. Cool Roofs
Cool roofs are actually the fastest-growing sector of the roofing industry right now.
Some of the most popular cool roofing systems for flat roofs use a white membrane that reflects sun rays and prevents heat emittance to keep cooling costs and rooftop temperatures down. However, keeping the heat out can be a problem for folks living in colder climates, so researchers at MIT created a roofing tile called Thermeleon that turns white in warm temperatures to reflect heat and then turns black to absorb heat when it’s cold out.
10. Metal Roofs
Metal roofs are nothing new, but they are still one of the most environmentally friendly roofing systems available. They are finally being marketed more heavily to the average homeowner, and availability has skyrocketed. Metal roofing materials are recyclable, incredibly durable and long-lasting, and they’re the prefered roofing material for harvesting rainwater.
If you’re interested in a metal roof, cool roof, solar tubes, or a dependable foundation for a vegetative roof, we would love to help. Call Pacific West Roofing today at 503-653-8706 or contact us via email.