Sustainability and eco-consciousness have become an important part of our culture. The demand for green products has extended beyond multiple-use straws and reusable grocery bags. Homeowners and environmentalists everywhere are demanding that we, as people, find as many ways as possible to lessen our environmental footprint.
One area where sustainability has become incredibly prevalent is in home improvement and home materials. Engineers and builders have become increasingly focused on giving homeowners more eco-friendly alternatives to nearly every housing material on the market. From insulation, to flooring, to countertops and more, for every harmful housing material, there’s a greener alternative waiting in the wings.
While not as glamorous or exciting as some of the other areas of the home, the roofing and siding markets have introduced several green trends over the years to accommodate growing demand. Let’s take a closer look at these green roofing and siding trends.
What Makes Something “Green”?
If you’re not deeply entrenched in the movement to save the planet, words like “green” and “eco-conscious” start to bleed together. While you probably support saving the planet, you might find yourself asking, “what do all these words even mean?” If you’re unsure what these words mean to you as a consumer, you aren’t alone. Clever marketers use these terms liberally, so it’s totally normal to feel a little out of the loop.
Plus, there isn’t really one universal definition for all these terms. What makes something “green” for one person might not be far enough for another. In this article, we’re defining green a few ways.
For one, a product is green if it is in some way better for the environment than the traditional alternative. For instance, a product that’s made from recycled materials is green because there’s no need to mine or manufacture new materials.
As another example, anything that increases energy-efficiency is considered green in our book. This is because the most widespread ways of producing electricity are harmful to the environment. Anything that increases energy-efficiency decreases a person’s overall carbon footprint.
Essentially, with roofing and siding materials, anything that promotes sustainability and a decreased impact on the planet is a win. So, let’s get into some of those materials.
Green Roofing Materials
Let’s start with roofs. When most people think of roofs, they think of asphalt shingles. They’re cost-effective and easy to install. However, asphalt shingles aren’t great for the environment. They aren’t recyclable, so they end up in landfills, plus they’re comprised of toxic, harmful chemicals. If that’s not enough, they’re terrible for energy-efficiency. Asphalt shingles, due to their dark color, absorb heat into the house, requiring homeowners to crank up the air conditioner and use more energy.
So, what are some green alternatives to asphalt shingles? If you want the most cost-effective options, synthetic asphalt and metal roofs are the way to go. Both are much more energy-efficient, and both can be created using recycled materials. (While wooden roofs fit the bill here, too, wooden roofs come with a slew of maintenance headaches, so most people steer clear of them.)
As far as trends go, if you want to really up the ante, go for solar roofs or green roofs. Both are more expensive than the other two, but they allow you to make an even bigger positive impact on the environment.
Solar roofs allow you to generate your own energy using the power of the sun. This means that you aren’t using any harmfully produced energy to run your household. Green roofs are roofs covered in gardens and greenery. They help decrease air pollution, handle stormwater buildup, and improve a home’s thermal performance.
Keep in mind green roofs will require quite a bit of maintenance, so don’t go with green roofs if you aren’t looking for a roof that requires constant upkeep.
Green Siding Materials
When looking at siding material, there are a few things to consider. We’re looking at energy-efficiency, material, recyclability, manufacturing and labor. Across all those facets, sustainably sourced wood siding wins hands down. However, wood siding is incredibly high maintenance, making it a huge commitment. So, aside from wood, what other siding materials are green?
Like roofing, metal is a great green siding choice. Stucco, brick, and natural stone are all great choices, too. Brick, stucco, and stone win in terms of energy-efficiency, manufacturing, and insulation. Metal wins in cost-effectiveness and recyclability. Ultimately, it’s about which factors are most important to you.
Green Roofing and Siding Trends
One thing is clear; the world is becoming increasingly eco-conscious. This extends to roofing and siding materials, too. If you’re a homeowner hoping to go with a green roof or siding material for your home, there are several choices. Ultimately, it comes down to your budget, maintenance goals, aesthetic preferences, and what green means to you.