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Energy Efficient Construction
Environmental Design Consulting
Green Building and Development Techniques
Energy Efficient Construction
Environmental Design Consulting
Green Building and Development Techniques
Roofing
There are many types of roofing available on the market and essentially what you pay for is what you get. Composition (asphalt shingles) is by far the most common as they are the least expensive, but also the least sustainable, as even 25 year shingles exhibit fatigue and even leaks only after about 15 years. If this is the type of roofing you have determined to use, at least go with the 50 year composition shingles to avoid the additional labor costs of reinstalling 25 year shingles, as well as the waste of the initial layer of shingles that must be sent to the landfill as many municipalities are no longer allowing you to roof over existing layers. Other roofing material include rubber shingles, shake shingles, metal roofing, clay tiles and slate in addition to epdm roofing membrane (thick rubber mats) for flat roofs.

Metal roofs are more expensive initially than composition roofs but have a life expectancy of over twice that of asphalt shingles (about 40 years) with about half of the maintenance cost and are fire resistant. In addition, when the roof is replaced it can be recycled and reused. Thus, metal roofs, when applicable, are a better alternative to standard composition roofs.

Rubber shingles are also more expensive than composition, but a good choice for roofing as they are often made from recycled materials, have a 40 to 50 year life expectancy and can be recycled when they are replaced. They also protect against hail damage and thus home owner insurance rates can be reduced, but are not fire resistant and in fact can create a very hot and toxic fire.

Shake shingles are made from cedar, cypress or redwood and tend to last 30 to 35 years. They create an attractive roof but are not ecological since it involves cutting down more trees. They shrink as they age, are very flammable and require a significant amount of labor to install, so costs for this type of roofing run generally runs much higher.

Tiles made of clay and concrete and slate roofs cost substantially more at installation and require a stronger structure for support, but are essentially maintenance free, fireproof, beautiful and highly sustainable as they last a long time (withstanding a highly destructive hail storm.) Roofs of this nature have lasted well over a hundred years but slate is mined from non renewable sources and clay tile roofs require a specific architectural look. However, if you are constructing a high end home, and costs are not a major consideration, these types of roofing are a good sustainable choice.

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