Go Green, Save Green: Metal Roofs and Energy Efficiency
As Americans become more and more aware of the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions, a growing number of homeowners and roofing contractors are turning to metal roofing as a “green” alternative to traditional roofing materials.
Metal roofing systems are growing in popularity every year, and a significant portion of that growth is due to their environmental appeal. Homeowners have discovered that installing a metal roofing system is not only one of the most environmentally-responsible choices they can make, it’s also one of the most cost-effective.
Metal roofs and walls come in a variety of colors, but it’s the “green” makeup of metal that is prompting many home and business owners to sit up and take notice. For homeowners and roofing contractors committed to preserving natural resources, metal building products offer a unique, environmentally-friendly solution.
Metal roofs and walls can contribute considerably to the “green” building movement because of their high recycled content, recyclability, sustainability and energy efficiency. The recycled content for steel used in metal roofs and walls, for example, is at least 25%. This level of recycled content reduces both the cost and environmental impact of making new steel, as it conserves energy and other natural raw materials.
In addition to their recycled content, metal roof panels offer the added benefit of being recyclable at the end of their “useful” life. For example, while other old roofing materials are dumped by the ton in landfills, the steel, aluminum, copper and zinc used in metal roof panels is 100% recyclable, contributing to future products recycled content.
Moreover, in many retrofit applications, metal roofs can be installed over old roofs. This eliminates the need to remove the old roofing material, and helps preserve valuable landfill space.
In addition to their other environmentally-friendly attributes, metal roofs and walls can also help reduce energy consumption. Metal roofs, for example, can be finished with heat-deflecting coatings to lower energy usage by reducing cooling loads. Available with baked-on finishes or granular-coated surfaces, “cool metal roofs” can reflect up to 70% of the sun’s rays, resulting in less heat transfer to the interior of the building and saving owners up to 40% in energy costs.
Moreover, metal has a low thermal mass, meaning that it dissipates heat very quickly once the sun goes behind a cloud or sets for the day. Other construction materials such as concrete have greater thermal mass and will continue to radiate captured heat into the structure, even when the sun is not shining.
Roofing ranks near the top of the list when it comes to home improvements that can benefit big from going green. After all, a roof’s exposure to heat, cold, and sunlight make it an excellent candidate for improving overall energy efficiency.
And since the roof is also the home’s most important line of defense when it comes to protecting homeowners from the elements, it’s easy to see why homeowners and roofing contractors across the country are drawn to the quality workmanship and high expectations that green remodeling is known for.
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