Sustainability in the last decade has become an essential reference when it comes to choosing the best roofing material, right next to features such as longer service life. A sustainable roof is one that, through its materials and components, manages to reduce the environmental impact of the building over its entire lifespan. The sustainability of a roof goes much further than the installation of the roof on the building: from its design and conception with energy efficiency criteria to the choice of materials and systems that integrate it, seeking the best performance and the lowest environmental impact throughout the useful life of the building and even afterward through the recycling of its components.
There are many different types of roofs that are sustainable:
The roofs are designed under the passivhaus standard and the most innovative ones, those using the latest generation of materials such as those based on photocatalytic technology.
Green roofs must have the following characteristics:
Longer service life means less impact on the environment as replacing the old roof involves material consumption, energy use, and waste energy.
Function. In reality, a good roof is not just the covering. It is a very important element in the air circulation of the building, maintaining the temperature in a cold climate and quickly releasing hot air in warm places. Thanks to these features, less energy is needed to heat or cool the building, saving money!
Based on the above information, we can sum it all up in one sentence: it all depends on the roofing material you choose. Some will be recyclable, some will provide better air circulation, while others will have a longer life span.
TYPES AND MATERIALS OF ECOLOGICAL AND EFFICIENT ROOFS
LIVING ROOFS. Living roofs, or green roofs, are defined as vegetated roofs consisting of “a waterproofing membrane, a growing medium (soil) and vegetation (plants) on a traditional roof. It’s a bit of a rigid definition, but the result is spectacular. Properly installed green roofs double the number of years it normally takes before a roof needs to be replaced compared to traditionally installed roofs. The average life expectancy of a living roof is around 40 years, compared to an average life expectancy of 17 years for a conventional roof. The benefits of green roofs showed that green roofs have excellent sound insulation, especially for low frequencies. Green roofs can reduce outside sound penetration by 40-60 decibels.
Living roofs are certainly beneficial for the environment, but the costs and maintenance requirements could outweigh the positive aspects in the end:
Building cooling system
High cost of installation
High maintenance requirements
ASPHALT SHINGLES. Asphalt shingles are a very common roofing material. They are composed of a base containing an organic felt made of paper fiber and wood or in some cases a fiberglass mat. The most environmentally friendly type of asphalt shingles is created using special granules that can absorb heat. The change in material formation is minimal but can result in a large temperature difference inside the building. Another important aspect is the lifetime of the asphalt: 10 to 15 years. This short durability is not a major shortcoming, as asphalt is one of the cheapest materials on the market and is inexpensive to replace.
Low maintenance requirement
Reduced useful life
It May be causing harm to the environment
Badly supports air circulation
METAL ROOFING. An uncommon option in our country is to install roofs made of coated steel, aluminum, or copper; in some locations, it has become popular due to its many benefits. Among these are that it is extremely durable, fireproof, and mildew-proof, as well as being very resistant under adverse weather conditions, including strong winds. Very practical in high mountain areas, as it also tends to make snow slippery, preventing the formation of ice. Therefore, it can be very noisy during rain or hail storms, is relatively heavy, expensive to install, and not exactly a cheap option. In addition, it can be affected by rust and corrosion if not properly maintained.
Compared to asphalt it is more expensive and in case of damage, it is more difficult to replace only a part of the roof. However, it is often 100% recyclable or even made from recycled materials, so its replacement does not have a high environmental impact.
Recyclable (often also made from recycled materials)
Long service life
Energy efficiency (acts as a natural insulator)
In case of damage, it is more difficult to replace only a part of the roof.
TILE ROOF. Another solution is tiled roofs, which are often made of different materials such as slate, clay, or concrete. Tile roofs are far superior to other materials when it comes to air circulation. Air can flow between the tiles so that hot air in hot climates can quickly move away. It is also beneficial in colder places, as the tiles can easily prevent hot air from escaping. Another great advantage is that the tiles are durable, they behave well n any conditions such as fire, stormy weather, or strong winds. Their lifespan is the longest among all materials and can even reach up to 200 years. However, this durability, energy efficiency, and long life come at a price. Clay roof tiles are today one of the most expensive roofing materials and are not affordable for all customers.
A very long operating life
TEJADO DE MADERA. En tejados de madera se suele usar el cerdo, ya que es una madera dura y menos permeable que otras maderas. Sin duda su principal ventaja es su atractivo estético, pero también son muy duraderos si los mantenemos debidamente, son buenos aislantes y permiten la circulación de aire. Su principal problema es su mantenimiento, requieren de cuidados constantes debido a la relativa fragilidad del material, no son una opción muy económica y entre sus puntos negativos también encontramos la posibilidad de aparición de moho, podredumbre y daños por insectos como la carcoma o las termitas. Entre su mantenimiento habitual encontraremos tratarlo regularmente con una capa ignífuga ya que de otro modo puede suponer un riesgo de incendio, esta desventaja hace que sea poco común ver tejados de madera e incluso en algunos lugares está prohibida su instalación.
Not good for all climates
Expensive to install
Shortened service life
As you can see, there are no right or wrong solutions. However, before choosing your roofing material, you should consider a few things: your budget, the climate, the type of building (its functions and design), and, of course, its environmental impact. Think long-term, as these solutions may prove to be the optimal choice for your wallet and the planet.
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Please contact the Arcostec team of specialists to get all the information you are interested in. We will contact you as soon as possible. We are committed to providing our customers with professional and personalized advice.
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