A GREENER ROOF - LITERALLY
Is your roof in need of replacement? If so, you might consider one of the following high-tech roofing options, which reduce your home’s energy demand while avoiding the use of fossil fuel-derived asphalt shingles.
A “green” (or “living”) roof is, in most cases, exactly what the name implies: plants growing on a building’s roof. Depending on the slope, strength, and size of your roof, you can have a roof covered with grass, flowers, or even shrubs.
Besides looking pretty, green roofing offers numerous advantages:
Why not put the sunlight your roof soaks up during the day to good use? Photovoltaic (PV) shingles provide the same look, protection, and durability as asphalt shingles but have the added benefit of converting sunlight into electricity that can power your home (or specific appliances), reducing the need for electricity generated from fossil fuels and lowering your electricity costs.
PV shingles work best on south-facing roofs that are not shaded by trees for a significant portion of the day. To determine the best solar energy option for your home or find a professional installer, visit FindSolar, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Energy and several professional organizations.
These environmentally friendly roofing options do cost a lot more up front: approximately $10 to $25 per square foot (including installation) for green roofs and $20 per square foot (materials only) for PV shingles, compared with $1 to $2 per square foot for asphalt shingles. Unlike asphalt shingles, however, green roofs and PV shingles can save energy (and money) over their lifetime. Local, state, or utility incentives might be available to lower the up-front costs.
Written by: Union of Concerned Scientists.
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