Three green roofing options every Atlanta homeowner should consider

In the past, builders and homeowners alike would cut corners to get the most out of their money by choosing...

In the past, builders and homeowners alike would cut corners to get the most out of their money by choosing lower quality roofing material. Today, more people are realizing that choosing green roofing options may have more upfront costs, but have better long-term benefits that may save you money later in life. As you may already know, green roofs also offer ways to cut down your annual energy costs. Eco-friendly roofing is much more durable than many other alternatives, giving you a longer-lasting product. As an added bonus, they are more aesthetically pleasing and more affordable than ever before.

Before you decide on an eco-friendly roofing option, you must first consider how the available choices fit with your home's design and particular location. Even eco-friendly options are not all created equally.

Choosing a "cool" roof

A cool roof is called such because it is used primarily for keeping the home cooler in the hot months. Solar reflectivity, or albedo, is an important factor in choosing a cool roof, especially for an older home that may not have as much insulation protection inside. It is recommended that roofs made with materials that deflect the sun's rays are used to reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the sun. Lighter colored roofing such as metal and clay are highly recommended. Copper, stainless steel and aluminum work great for keeping the house cooler in the hot Atlanta sun and come in a variety of styles and colors to complement modern and traditional homes alike. You can also find many recycled metal roofs that help keep your roof as eco-friendly as possible. Clay not only helps deflect the sun's rays, but also adds extra insulation to the home, keeping your home at a consistent temperature year-round. They are also considered highly recyclable, as they often outlast their homes and may be reused when building a new house.

The living roof

An interesting trend in green roofing is using your roof as a garden. Indeed, many people building homes are now creating the roof with a garden in mind. This is supposed to help utilize the rain falling on the roof, create more living space for wildlife and add extra insulation to the home. You may use a living roof for a number of plants, including low-maintenance succulents, flowers and grass, or vegetables. A garden roof usually requires regular maintenance to keep the garden alive; this is especially true for homeowners who choose to use their roofs to grow vegetables. A roof such as this may not be the best choice for a home that is already built because the costs to convert the roof so that it can handle the weight and structure requirements of a garden can be very expensive. If you still have your heart set on a living roof, you will need to consult with a remodeler who specializes in this type of roofing and get an engineer's review. Just keep in mind that the overall costs to create and maintain a living roof is more expensive than any other green roof option.

Solar roof shingles

Solar roof shingles, also known as photovoltaic shingles, are different from your standard solar panels. They were created to blend better with the average home's design compared to the big and awkward-looking panels. The solar power technology is embedded in the shingles and may provide up to 20 years of power--longer in some instances. They may be purchased as premade shingles or incorporated in your current roofing. This gives you a wider range of design choices and flexibility. Depending on the type or brand you choose, the solar shingles may actually raise the overall temperatures of your home and require additional energy to keep your home cool in the summer. Although it is typically more expensive than other roofing options and solar panels, in the state of Georgia, you may get tax credits to help ease the costs of installation.

No matter what green roof option you choose, it is important to consider how the roof fits with the rest of your house and the upfront costs associated with each choice. The best eco-friendly roof choice should not only be durable, but preferably come from a sustainable or recycled source. Although some green roof options may appeal to you, consider the age of your home and whether it is possible to have the roof retrofit. Always discuss your options with a professional roofer or home remodeler. Check online for any possible tax deductions or rebates you could receive for installing a green roof. Some companies also help their employees with the upfront cost of replacing their roof with an eco-friendly option.

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