Architectural Theory, Construction Materials, Design Guide, Sustainability, Sustainable Materials

7 Sustainable Roofing Materials for Your Roof Design

When a building is designed, the roof is mostly given the least priority in terms of design and material innovation. And often, the default roof choices we resort to are concrete, steel, or wood. 

With most priority given to roofing, facades, and the external environment, we’re often unaware as designers, of the flexibility we possess when deciding the right roofing materials and method in our design. 

Sustainable Roofing Materials

This article covers some sustainable roofing options you can adopt to create an interesting roofing design that serves its aesthetic and functional values. 

Sustainable Roofing Materials

  1. White Roof
  2. Shingle Roof
  3. Fiber-Cement Roofing
  4. Reclaimed Clay and Slate
  5. Green Roof
  6. Polyurethane Foam
  7. Ferrocement
  1. White Roof

White roofs are primarily roofs that are completely painted white. They are known to be three times more effective than green or black ones. 

White roofs directly reflect the sunlight and radiation falling on the roof instead of absorbing it. These are highly efficient for sites located in hotter climates as they help keep the internal temperature at a low at all times. 

White roof reflects sun light and reduces heat gain
White roof
  1. Shingle Roof

i. Wood Shingle Roof

Wood shingles are thin tapered pieces of wood that are used to cover the roofs and walls of buildings as a means of weather protection. They last for over 30 years. Cedar shingles are a popular roof alternative to other generic roof materials.

There are also known to be highly sustainable as they come from a renewable ecosystem unlike man-made products such as cement, steel, and so on. 

Wood Shingle Roofs are a highly sustainable method of roofing
Wood Shingle Roof

ii. Asphalt Shingle Roof

Often used for waterproofing, Organic Asphalt shingles are made of waste paper, cellulose, wood fiber, and so on. 

They help reflect solar radiation from the roofs and help reduce internal room temperature. They are also highly durable as they are fire and water-resistant.

 Asphalt Shingle Roofs are often used fot waterproofing
Asphalt Shingle Roof

iii. Reinforced Rubber Shingle Roof

Rubber recycled from car tires and other similar materials is made into shingles and used for roofing. They provide good thermal insulation along with protection from harmful solar radiation. 

Reinforced rubber shingle roofing is highly durable, cost-effective, and low-maintenance. 

Reinforced Rubber Shingle Roofs are created from recycles car tires and similar materials
Reinforced Rubber Shingle Roof
  1. Fiber-Cement Roofing

Fiber-cement is made with recycled materials such as cellulose fibers, sand, and cement. It requires less energy in assembly and construction in comparison to most other materials out there. 

They are low maintenance and also enhance ventilation levels inside the building. They also offer ideal thermal and sound insulation in the building. 

Fiber-Cement Roofs are low maintenance and also enhances ventilation
Fiber-Cement Roofing
  1. Reclaimed Clay and Slate

Discarded and old roof tiles are recycled to create roofing for buildings in construction. Broken or chipped reclaimed tiles are reprocessed to create new versions of them. 

They are often a good option for new or re-roofs and are known to be highly durable as they last several decades. They also provide an interesting aesthetic to the building due to its color and vintage look. 

Roofing made from reclaimed clay and slate
Reclaimed Clay and Slate
  1. Green Roof

Roof gardening is a good option to create a passive cooling system for the building. The plants take advantage of the direct sunlight of the roof and at the same time helps keep the internal temperature of the building cool. 

The vegetation helps convert CO2 to oxygen and eliminate particulate matter and air pollution. This ultimately helps improve the air quality of the surrounding environment as a whole. 

Green roofs help maintain internal temperature of the building
Green Roof
  1. Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane is often sprayed directly on top of the existing roof, which then expands into foam. The foam gives the roof thermal, air, and moisture resistance and helps lower overall energy costs in the building. 

The materials have low VOC and are free from CFCs, making it a sustainable option. The ultra-low Global Warming Potential and zero Ozone Depleting Potential make it an apt choice as a roofing material. 

Roof sprayed with polyurethane foam gives the roof thermal, air and moisture resistance.
Polyurethane Foam
  1. Ferrocement 

Ferrocement roofing is precast or cast in situ roofing they are highly durable and easily flexible to create any shape of roof required. They are water and chemical resistant and hence require fewer structural modifications in their lifetime. 

They are also earthquake resistant as they are reinforced with fibers between wire mesh. By adopting ferrocement roofing, cement and steel requirement reduces by 10-15% and is also cost-effective. 

Ferrocement roofs are highly durable and flexible to construct
Ferrocement  Roof

It is important to choose the roofing design on the basis of the environment and site context to make the most out of the existing natural resources. 

Opting to go for a roofing technique contrasting the generic flat roofs with concrete will not only elevate your design but also help you add a notch of sustainability to your building.

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