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Choosing a Sustainable Roof for Your Home, by Amber of Fortified Roofing

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Published
August 13, 2012
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Your home’s roof can have a big effect on the energy usage.  It is all about keeping the heat in during the cold month and out during the summer.  There are some common-sense and surprising choices that can help you choose a more sustainable roof to get the maximum benefit.  Hopefully, these tips will help you save some money on your next heating bill. 

Something that you may not think of that affects your heating bill is the color of your roof.  Lighter shingles reflect the light instead of absorbing it.  Simply having a lighter color will reduce the cost of cooling and save energy.  Check your roof first on the Cool Roof Ratings website to make sure you are using the optimal materials for your home.  It is also important that these products last for years and do not simply lose their usage in the first year.  If you are not picking out a new roof, or have no plans to re-roof your house in the near future, there are coating options for your existing cover.

When it comes to insulation, the attic is one of the most important aspects of your home to consider, even if you do use it for more than storage.  How you insulate your roof depends on where you live and the kind of house that you have.  There are natural options such as wood or cotton batting as well as non-natural insulators such as fiberglass or foam.  Even adding exterior insulation could be a good addition to your new roof.  It is best to consult a professional before making this decision because a pro will know the local area and be able to help you make the best choice.  It is also a good idea to leave some air space between the bottom of the roofing and the insulation itself.  Water can collect if there is no space allowed for the roof to air out and dry completely.  Mold and mildew can have devastating effects on your home and your family’s health. 

Once you decide on the right roofing and insulation for your home, make sure that it is sustainable for a substantial period of time. Things such as degrading  materials should not be an issue.  If you make the correct choice, you should not have to reroof for at least another 15 years.   Roofs that typically last longest are made of metal or slate, but these can be expensive to update or repaire.  Some basic things you should consider when choosing which material to build with include, but are not limited to, durability, color, insulation options, temperature, and the surrounding natural elements. 

A new trend, especially in the cities, is the adoption of green roofs.  These are created to offset the “Heat Island Effect” that is common in large urban areas such as New York.  The large amount of asphalt found in concentrated areas creates a mini urban warming that heats the city as a whole.  There are many other green benefits to a more natural roof. You can use it to collect water for your garden, and you can treat it as an extension of your yard, with natural plants and wildlife.  The same energy-saving benefits apply as well, such as cooling cost and heat retention.  But of course they are not for everyone, and there are still some great choices, even if you decide to not grow a garden on your roof.

Take a minute to analyze the current condition of your roof and spend some time thinking about what priorities are most important to you.  Then contact a professional to get some solid advice so that you make the best choice possible for your sustainable roof.

Amber is the Outreach Coordinator at Fortified Roofing