Far from being an expert on "green" roofing and other green systems I have done quite a bit of research and attended some seminars. There is far more to "green" that I would have thought.
"Green" can refer to what type of products you use, how the manufacturer produces the product and the impacts it may have on the environment. Green can refer to using re-cycled products or products that can be re-cycled.
One of the greenest things you can do is to live near your job, thereby reducing the amount of fuel you use to get to work. Green of course can refer to using solar electric and water heating systems to lower your fuel costs and reduce your need for conventional electric and gas / oil burning sources.
A very cost effective way to lower home utility costs (and be green) is to add insulation to your home, seal windows and doorways to prevent air passage, add skylights to provide natural lighting throughout your home and similar other improvements that again can be far less costly than other more seemingly obvious options such as solar water and electric panels.
But let's go ahead and talk a bit about photovoltaic electric and solar water systems.
Photovoltaic roof mounted systems come in many shapes and sizes now are being improved continually along with attempts to lower the costs of such systems. They are one of the more expensive and visible ways to go green but depending on the size of your electric bill they can be cost effective in the long run.
I understand many of the utility companies rebate and incentive offers will gradually be reduced or go away as more people take advantage of them. So if you have large electrical needs and the resources available to make the initial investment it's worth looking into with your local solar installer, who will usually be the one to know about rebates and incentives offered in your area. There is of course lots more info available online.
Solar heating water systems were all the rage years ago and have seemingly gone away. As a roofing contractor I know we have removed many old and useless system from roofs during re-roofing. This seems odd to me as the costs for such systems are far less than photovoltaic systems and would seem to be more affordable for most folks. A local solar contractor friend of mine has a new solar water heating system available with quite the list of ready clients but has yet to install one. He is rather mum about the system while being somewhat excited about it's possibilities, yet doesn't seem to be in any hurry to install them ? I want one ! I will be helping him with a PV installation on the new home we roofed recently and will try to get more info on solar water heating.
"Green" roofing. Not much going on yet but some green roofing systems are beginning to emerge. One I like is the flat roof with a grass roof concept. While I have yet to be involved in one of those applications there does seem to be lots of info available online.
Another (and one of the few) actual "green" roofing products available is the Carlisle Ecostar line of slate and shake looking tiles. We did install one of these systems last year and found to be easy and very clean to work with. The cost of these system are in the premium range but they do look nice and are as "green" as I know of currently. I reprinted the text below directly from the www.ecostar.carlisle.com website.
Nine colors and six styles...imagine the possibilities!!
EcoStar® is the leading manufacturer of sustainable, environmentally friendly steep-slope roofing products. Created with a simple goal: to manufacture premium steep-slope roofing products using rubber and plastics technology, EcoStar has built on this premise for the past ten years.
EcoStar's product offering includes synthetic slate Majestic Slate™ Tiles, synthetic wood shake Seneca Cedar Shake Tiles™, a line of designer tiles and a full line of accessories, including EcoVent™, EcoStar Snow Guards, Aqua Guard, Glacier Guard™, EcoStar Fasteners™, EcoStar Tile Tape and NOVA Walkway Pads™.
Offering superior performance and durability, EcoStar products are manufactured with recycled rubber and plastics and are highly flexible, sustainable and environmentally friendly. Providing superior protection against impacts and harsh weather conditions, all EcoStar products offer Class 4 impact resistance and are available with a 50-year Gold Star or limited materials warranty and a 100 mph wind warranty.
You'll notice in these photos the decking product used on the house is a through color plastic type product. It never needs painting, very little if any maintenance and should never rot out. The homeowner involved in this project went "green" as much as she could throughout the entire home and with what looks to be very good results.
return to the top