Most of us assume that metal is a more sustainable roofing material – but it’s the environmentally responsible choice in more ways than one. We’ve pulled together five ways a metal roof can protect the environment:
Metal roofs have a longer lifespan
The most commonly referenced advantage of a metal roof is its lifespan. While an asphalt roof only lasts 10-15 years, a metal roof looks and performs as well at age 50 as it does on day one. Metal roofs do not corrode, crack, cannot be eaten through by raccoons and squirrels, and will not ignite if there is a fire or lightning strike. Whereas an asphalt roof will fail under heavy rains and winds, a metal roof can withstand wind gusts up to 215 miles per hour.
Metal roofs are recycled…
Steel has long been lauded by builders for its strength, but its high recycled content is a huge environmental plus. The amount can vary, but most steel products contain upwards of 80% recycled content.
… and recyclable!
On the flip side, a metal roof is 100 percent recyclable at the end of its lifecycle. In contrast, 11-million tonnes of asphalt end up in North American landfills each year, making them a significant component of building-related waste.
If you’re renovating or replacing an existing roof, switching to metal can prevent that old asphalt roof from ending up in overflowing landfills. Because it’s so lightweight, a metal roof can often be installed directly over the old asphalt as long as your roof deck is in good condition.
Metal roofs are non-toxic
Asphalt is a petroleum-based product that is incredibly toxic and carcinogenic. During its manufacture – and installation – harmful gasses escape into the atmosphere and waterways.
It also takes 300 years for these materials to decompose. By the time one year’s batch of asphalt has disintegrated, there will be six trillion more pounds of shingle waste added to it.
Metal roofs are energy efficient
Metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs in the summer by as much as 40 percent, depending on your location. This energy-efficient component can also help cut air conditioning costs in the summer months, which is a beneficial roofing option for those that live in warmer climates. With ratings from Energy Star and the Cool Roof Rating Council, you can select the roof option and color which will help achieve the highest energy efficiency for your home.
Continued reliance on asphalt sets ourselves up for a vicious cycle of purchase, installation, and disposal that’s straight into our landfills every decade. With advancements in paint finishes and profile designs, it’s never been easier to install a metal roof that looks natural – and protects our natural environment.