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Sustainable Roofing Options

Slate Roof Installation in Harford County

When deciding on roof materials, many people are curious about some of the more sustainable choices. Learning what sustainability is in roofing and the different options like cool roofs, green roofing, and more can help you make a more informed choice about your roofing goals. 

Are you looking for a more sustainable choice for your own roof? Are you confused about which materials are sustainable and which aren’t? 

Keep reading to learn what sustainable roofing options are out there. 

What Is Sustainability in Roofing? 

Sustainability is generally defined as the method of using a resource so that the resource is not exhausted or damaged in the long term. By this definition, roofing is made sustainable by choosing roofing materials that are manufactured sustainably, and created with eco-friendly materials.

However, it’s not only the materials that play into roof sustainability. How roof materials perform over their lifetime, and the way they are disposed of also play into the sustainability of roofing. 

Durability, and the material’s resistance to heat and help cool the home are key factors of sustainable roofing materials. When a material is able to reflect away heat from the home, it helps offset the financial and environmental costs of cooling a home. 

Different Kinds of Sustainable Roofing Materials

There are many different options for sustainable roofing materials, allowing those looking to roof their home in a way that feels best to them. Learning the various kinds of materials can help you begin to plan your roofing project. 

Metal Roofing 

Metal roofs are an appealing sustainable roofing option because of their recyclable materials. These roofs are often made out of copper, galvanized steel, tin, and other materials, and offer a durable option due to their hardy nature. These roofs can last from 40 to 80 years.  

Metal roofs also reflect heat away from homes, helping to lower energy costs for cooling the home. This heat reflection helps the sustainability factor of this roofing material. 

These roofs also offer the benefit of being fire-resistant. 

Green Roofing

Green roof systems are flat or gently sloped roofs that are partially or completely covered in vegetation, like small bushes, grass, or other native plants. These plants are able to grow using a detailed root and drain system. 

By choosing plants instead of typical asphalt shingles, your home or property can lower in temperature, helping with the cooling of your home. Green roofs can even improve the air quality of your property. 

Green roofs also can offer help during storms by helping drain the additional stormwater. However, due to the heavy nature of these roofs, additional roofing support is necessary. These roofs also require regular maintenance. 

Solar Roofing 

These kinds of roofs are made of slender photovoltaic sheets that can lay on top of already-existent roof shingles, or replace the shingles completely. Then, these sheets absorb the sun’s rays, turning them into clean energy for your home and helping reduce your energy costs. 

Solar roofs are a durable, and aesthetically pleasing way to reduce your carbon footprint without taking up any further room on your property. They can also increase the value of your home. 

At Tar Heel Construction Group LLC, we offer an all-in-one solar roofing system from GAF. This cutting-edge technology has become increasingly popular over the last few years.

Cool Roofing

These roofs cool the roof of your home with bright, reflective colors instead of the more traditional dark asphalt shingles. This category also includes cool roof coating, membranes, and paints, making it a sustainable addition to other materials. 

The heat reflected by cool roofs helps reduces the heat being absorbed by your home or property and can help offset your cooling costs. This also helps reduce the greenhouse gases your home will emit and is a wise environmental choice. 

Clay Tile Roofing

Clay roofing is an option that is hardly new. Buildings have been roofed with clay for centuries, and are made by shaping and firing the clay into a tile. Clay tiles are a sustainable option due to their all-natural materials.

They are also sustainable due to their durability. They can last for a century, making them a great long-term choice. Clay is also a naturally cooler roofing option, due to the lighter color of the tiles reflecting the sun’s rays. This makes it a common choice in homes in hotter climates. 

For another added level of sustainability, reclaimed clay tiles are available for those who are looking into previously used clay roofing. This can offer an antique aesthetic to a home. 

Slate Tile Roofing 

Slate tile roofs offer a sustainable option for roofing due to their extreme durability and natural material composition. Soft slate may last up to 125 years, and harder slate may last up to 200 years. 

Slate tile can offer a beautiful look to a roof, but the material is heavier than other materials and requires additional roofing support. 

Other Tips to Consider When Choosing Sustainable Roofing 

When trying to make a sustainable roofing choice, there are more things to consider than just the composition of the roofing material, like the maintenance or roof slope, which can help you in making your decision. 

Here is a list of some other tips to consider. 

  • Maintenance. Spending unnecessary time and money every year in maintaining a roof can be draining. It can help to choose an option for you that offers durability, and little heavy work to maintain. 
  • Roof slope. What slope does your roof have? Is it flat, gradual, or high? Some materials perform better on specific slopes, while some are incompatible with certain slopes entirely. 
  • Warranty. When looking at roofing materials, watch for materials with the longest warranty possible. This will give you a good clue into which material is the most durable and long-lasting. 


There are many different options out there for those looking to make a more sustainable choice for their next roofing project. Knowing the different strengths and weaknesses of each material can aid you in your search for the best fit for you.