Grant Findley of Findley Roofing and Building discusses the options for achieving an eco-friendly roof.
LET’S FACE IT, when we think about eco-friendly roofs – we generally think ‘solar panels’. While this is absolutely spot on, there are actually a number of other modern roofing materials that are also far more eco-friendly than other options on the market (and solar panels don’t really qualify as roofing materials anyway!). Here are a few more to look out for when you’re helping a client to choose a new roofing system for their home.
Eco-friendly tile options
Essentially, when it comes to tiles, it’s more a case of which option to avoid rather than which options are the eco-friendliest. Traditional slate and clay tiles are both made from natural materials, and even concrete tiles comprise a mixture of water, sand and cement.
However, asphalt is the one to avoid. Asphalt is petroleum-based and can emit horrendously toxic fumes when recycled, so avoid this cheaper option for a property.
Reclaimed slate and tiles
Narrowing the choice even further, you stand a far stronger chance of tiling the roof with completely recycled, reclaimed slate and clay. The UK has a number of reclaimed tile merchants, and good roofing companies will be able to source the tiles reasonably locally.
For instance, roofers in Gateshead have a number of options both locally and regionally, and if your customer can’t source the exact tile they need close by, we as a roofing company should be able to order the eco-friendly, recycled option from a national distributor.
While this hasn’t become mainstream for homeowners just yet, it is (excuse the pun) growing as an option for businesses, both as an environmentally sound option and as a means of displaying a positive corporate ethos.
However, green roofing isn’t just for display – it actually works towards absorbing the heat of a building, potentially reducing the usage of air conditioning inside, and absorbing rainwater, too – making it an ideal option for small flat roofing areas on any property.
Moving onto the subject of a more widely used material for flat roofs, rubber roofing is often mistaken as being environmentally unfriendly. However, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) roofing is actually highly recommended as a sustainable roofing material, largely due to its long lifespan and reusability.
In addition to this, EPDM is made from the rubber of used tyres, preventing this material from otherwise being incinerated – and releasing hydrocarbons into the air. Similarly, when rainwater runs from an EPDM roof, none of the water is polluted with harmful chemicals.
As we said right up top, it’s spot on that solar panels are synonymous with eco-friendly roofing materials. It’s also right that we should include them here, right after rubber roofs, as they can be easily installed with EPDM roofing systems.
Although expensive to purchase, solar panels do pay for themselves over time, and help to reduce energy bills and, subsequently, overall energy consumption. Harnessing the natural energy of the sun, whichever eco-friendly roofing option you choose, a few solar panels professionally installed will only enhance the environmentally friendly appeal of a property.