Ecofriendly Roofing Materials

Written by heidi cardenas
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Ecofriendly Roofing Materials
Many alternatives to asphalt roofing shingles are eco-friendly. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

If it's time to replace your roof, consider using eco-friendly roofing materials. Ideally, an eco-friendly roof incorporates sustainable or recycled building materials, uses renewable energy sources wherever possible and relies on eco-friendly materials. Recycled and alternative roofing materials can save money over the long term because they last longer than traditional roofing and they provide the added benefit of being good for the environment.

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Why Use Eco-Friendly

The many reasons to use eco-friendly roofing materials when building a new home or replacing an existing roof include using recycled and recyclable materials, longer product life, and better roofing protection. Shingles made from recycled materials keep cast-off materials out of landfills and get new productive use out of them. Many wood shingles are made from sustainably grown trees. Slate tiles last up to 100 years; and salvaged slate reuses slate tiles, avoiding the labour-intensive production process. Metal roofing can incorporate recycled materials and be recycled again at the end of its useful life. Many metal shingle products look like wood or slate. Fibre-cement composite roofing and rubber roofing both last almost twice as long as traditional roofing and can be made from recycled materials.


Costs of using eco-friendly or alternative roofing materials can be higher than traditional asphalt shingles, but usually are a better deal over the lifetime of the products because of their durability. Metal and slate can cost two to three times as much as traditional roofing, but may outperform asphalt shingles and lower insurance.

Green Roof Options

Growing turf or plants on the roof, called green roofs, is an eco-friendly roofing option. Green roofs help keep pollutants out of nearby sanitary water systems and the environment, reduce rainwater runoff by absorbing water in plants and soil, and evenly regulate heat and cool air in the house underneath. Green roofs must be constructed correctly to support the additional weight on the roof, but are an almost trouble-free eco-roof solution.


Not all traditional roofers have experience with eco-friendly roofing materials. Look for roofers who regularly work with eco-friendly roofs and discuss the different materials available. Talk to your local building and zoning department about alternative roofing materials, and make sure you can legally use the kind of eco-friendly roofing you are considering.

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