The dirty truth about sustainable roofing & sustainable roof materials
It’s time to dig deep. Are you truly interested in sustainability? The term ‘sustainability’ refers to the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Have you stopped to take a look at what a true reflection of sustainable might look like in your life?
The average roof is designed to last 10-20 years, meaning we are discarding and replacing the materials used for these roofs far too frequently. What happens to shingles after they leave your roof? Chances are those shingles end up in our landfills. Think about the implications based on the houses on your street, let alone your city or country. Our landfills continue to overflow with wasted resources that then release toxic chemicals and harmful gasses into our air, soil and water supply. Fortunately, there are cleaner paths we can choose in many industries, roofing included.
Some sustainable roof materials are just more… sustainable
It is important to understand the difference between recyclable material and products derived from recycled material. Your sustainable roof may be marketed to you as 100% recyclable, but to truly embody sustainability we must adopt a closed-loop recycling system. Simply put, truly sustainable roofing materials are made from reused products that continue to be reused over and over again. This closed loop system ensures that reused materials are reintroduced into the manufacturing process to create new products endlessly. Just because your sustainable roof has been marketed as recyclable doesn’t mean it ever has been or will be recycled. We are responsible for asking the important questions that define sustainability and examine the way our choices as consumers impact the future.
When considering a new roof with sustainability in mind, there are some key questions we can ask;
- Material selection Materials that are sourced naturally with renewable, non-toxic and recyclable qualities is key. Materials that have a low environmental impact are a must to meet sustainability goals.
- Longevity We need to see the shift towards a longevity mindset in the manufacturing industry generally speaking. Far too many products in todays age run a short life cycle due to quick turnaround, poor quality and cost savings in production. A roof should last more than 10 years, and a shift towards more sustainable roofing options has the ability to make a considerable impact globally.
- Energy Efficiency Considering a roofs ability to naturally heat and cool plays a large role in energy efficiency. Roofing materials that provide insulation and manage storm water runoff are also key factors in it’s overall sustainability.
- Closed Loop Recycling System In order to support true sustainability in roofing (and other industries), we must adopt a closed-loop recycling system. The approach to reusing and renewing post-consumer recyclables is possibly the biggest step we can take towards real change for the future.
- Ethical Manufacturing The way we manufacture products is another consideration when it comes to sustainability. Manufacturing practices that promote environmental responsibility, ethical and fair working conditions, transparency and accountability within the supply chain, while limiting energy consumption are essential.
- Durability Hand in hand with longevity, durability and a long life cycle are necessary in order to reduce the impact our materials have on landfills.
- Energy Conservation Conserving energy can be tied to every step of the sustainability process, from sourcing of materials all the way to the amount of upkeep and maintenance your roof requires. Every bit counts.
Truly Sustainable Roofing Material reduces landfill waste
Authentic Roof operates by truly sustainable roofing principles and standards. Made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, each slate used on a roof diverts a pound of plastic from the landfill. It doesn’t get more deliberate than that.
The closed-loop recycling system is a process that aims to reduce waste and promote sustainability by creating a loop where materials are recycled and reused over and over again. Closed loop recycling is a more sustainable approach to waste management as it reduces the need for new raw materials and minimizes the waste we send to landfills. It also conserves natural resources and reduces the environmental impacts of manufacturing.
Making Sustainable Choices
You can make smarter, more sustainable choices in your life and for your home now. When considering the investment of a new roof, you can start by taking a look at some of the factors listed above. Ask yourself if the companies you are interested in support a closed-loop recycling system, and if they promote ethical and sustainable manufacturing and sourcing of materials. We can make a big impact but we need do our homework, and we need to start now.