Metal may be more sustainable roofing choice

metal-roof-w-solarPretty much everyone knows about CFL bulbs and curbside recycling. What many homeowners don’t know is that the roof over their head can make a big difference to the environment.

Many consumers are shocked to learn that traditional asphalt shingles are a petroleum product, with a big environmental impact. Not only do asphalt shingles add to dependency on fossil fuels, they need to be replaced every 15-20 years, and there is no good way to dispose of them – landfills are full of asphalt shingles.

In the U.S., metal roofs are starting to replace petroleum-based asphalt shingles. A recent McGraw-Hill Construction and Analytics® survey showed metal roofing now comprises 11% of the residential re-roofing market, having more than doubled in just 10 years.

An old car, dishwasher or refrigerator can be recycled to re-roof a home. All steel roofs contain a minimum of 25% recycled content, and many have a much higher percentage.

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Metal roofs recyclable
At the end of its useful life, metal roofing is 100 percent recyclable. In addition, many metal roofs now feature Energy Star ratings that qualify for tax credits.

“According to the EPA, approximately 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated and disposed of in the United States each year,” states Bill Hippard, President of the not-for-profit Metal Roofing Alliance. “California alone generates 1.5 million tons of shingle waste each year.”

Eco-friendly metal roofs are available in a wide range of colors and styles, and feature long term warranties. Photovoltaic systems can easily be integrated into metal roof systems, making them an even better choice. Metal roofs can also allow consumers to harvest rainwater for reuse.

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