Top 5 Sustainable Roofing Materials

Published July 1st, 2022 in Blog
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What are the most sustainable roofing materials for your home?

Table of contents:

  • 5 most sustainable roofing materials in no particular order
  • Are asphalt roof shingles sustainable?
  • What is the most sustainable material for a roof?
  • Are wood shingles an eco-friendly material for a roof?
  • Are metal roofs a sustainable option?
  • How can I make my roof eco-friendly?
  • What color roof is best for the environment?
  • How to know if your roof is sustainable?
  • Why is recycling important for the environment?

5 most sustainable roofing materials in no particular order

  • Clay
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Green roofs
  • Slate

Clay would be the most sustainable material for your roof with the other options falling close behind.

Green roofs are starting to gain popularity but we have no experience starting to make one.

But let’s define what the word sustainable means.

Often this question gets paired with what are the most eco-friendly materials for a roof.

Generally, sustainable means something that is able to be maintained or long-lasting.

In this case, sustainable roofing materials in relation to eco-friendly roofing materials would mean what type of impact do these roofing materials have on the environment?

Are asphalt roof shingles sustainable?

Shingle roofing is not the best sustainable roofing material | Cenvar Roofing

Not really.

They’re a great option for your roof if you’re looking for the cost of roofing material and for the longevity of the product, but they’re not the most environmentally friendly roofing products.

Did you know that shingles can be recycled though?

A certain percentage of asphalt roads are made with recycled shingles from roofs!

Pavement performance was actually enhanced when paired with a mix of recycled shingles.

So while they’re not the most environmentally roofing option, they are able to be reused should a company set up a recycling program.

What is the most sustainable material for a roof?

Clay roofing tiles are great sustainable roofing materials | Cenvar Roofing

It’s generally accepted that clay roofs are the most sustainable material for a roof.

Because of how easy they are to make and how they’re easy to recycle, clay roofing tiles rank top of the list for sustainability.

They have a great lifespan but when clay roofs are replaced with different materials, you can reuse the clay tiles for many around-the-house projects.

If you don’t want to reuse the clay tiles, they can be sent right back to manufacturing to be repurposed.

If you’re looking to stay in your home for years to come, a clay roof might be an option if you don’t want to replace your roof again in your lifetime.

While our bread and butter would be shingle and metal roofs, we’ve replaced a roof with Clay tiles and had a great time doing it!

Are wood shingles an eco-friendly material for a roof?

Wood shingles are an eco-friendly roofing option but they come with their downside.

The lifespan of wood roofing shingles is somewhat short when compared to other options. Because they’re not as durable, they’ll typically only last between 15-20 years.

With this shorter lifespan comes a higher cost as they’re not as common.

But they are very eco-friendly as they’re biodegradable and can also be used as wood reclaim projects.

The main downside to wood shingles or even cedar wood shake roofs would be their high cost and need more maintenance to keep your home safe.

Are metal roofs a sustainable option?

Metal roofing is a sustainable roofing material | Cenvar Roofing

People often ask if a metal roof is a sustainable option and the answer is yes!

First off, metal roofs that are taken care of can last upwards of 100 years.

When you consider metal vs typical asphalt shingle roofs, metal more than doubles the lifespan of a shingle roof meaning fewer materials are brought to a landfill.

Unlike asphalt shingles, metal roofs are 100% recyclable.

When scrap metal is recycled, they’re separated by type of metal into different piles. Then these metals are crushed together and then melted in a furnace into metal sheets.

Metal roofing typically comes with a minimum of 25% of the material being recycled making the roofing system a green roof.

Metal roofing has a great lifespan and isn’t as expensive as clay roofs or slate roofing tiles.

How can I make my roof eco-friendly?

An eco-friendly roof would mean that your roof would not be harmful to the environment.

Materials that can be recycled are good for the environment because less air and water become polluted.

If you choose a roof that has recycling capabilities then you’re well on your way to making your roof eco-friendly.

Solar panels worked around roof ventilations

Another way to make your roof eco-friendly would be to install solar panels on your roof to help with the energy efficiency of your home.

While solar roofing panels are becoming more popular for the actual roof itself, installing solar panels on top of your roof is another option.

Generally, the less maintenance required on your roof means the more eco-friendly your roof will become.

The longest-lasting roofing materials would commonly be concrete/clay or slate tiles.

Other roofing options that are more sustainable will require less maintenance and less replacing making long lifespan roofing options more interesting.

Some long lifespan roofing options include:

  • Clay
  • Slate
  • Metal
  • Rubber

You can find many different ways to reuse these roofing materials around your home or for different art projects.

It’s more environmentally friendly to reuse the roofing materials than to send them to a landfill.

What color roof is best for the environment?

Shasta white asphalt shingle roofing | Cenvar Roofing

Colors for your roof come as a debated topic.

Darker or black roofs are typically best for environmentally friendly roofing systems in the winter because they help keep your home warm and negate the increase in heating costs.

On the flip side, “cool roofs” would typically be the most environmentally friendly roofing material in the summer and would be your lighter colors such as a Shasta White roof.

You can find more information about black metal roofs and how the sun’s rays affect your home on our blog.

If you’re most interested in the most energy-efficient roof then speak with a sales representative who can give more information.

But when it comes to which color is best for the environment, the results are mixed and there’s no one answer.

How to know if your roof is sustainable?

If you’re talking to a roofing company about getting a new roof and you’re curious about either your new roof or the old one, start asking questions.

If your roofing contractor is a professional company and has been around for years, they’ll know the differences between the different roofing materials.

They’ll be able to explain how different roofing materials are made and how they can be reused once torn off and recycled.

Why is recycling important for the environment?

According to Standford, “By reducing air and water pollution and saving energy, recycling offers an important environmental benefit: it reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons, that contribute to global climate change.”


If you’re looking for a roofing contractor to install a metal roof or a specialty roof, contact Cenvar Roofing today!

Our sales staff can help answer any questions you may have about sustainable roofing products for your home.

If you’re looking for a roof that will last your lifetime, we can point you in the right direction and can provide you with a great warranty as well.

At Cenvar Roofing, we look to give our customers everything they want for a better price than our competitors.

We value communication, punctuality, politeness, neat installation, no property damage, and excellent clean-up.

We have over 1,000 reviews across our different branch locations and we will continue to look to give the best roofing experience possible to our customers.

If you have any questions and aren’t ready for a free roofing estimate, feel free to call us and we would love to answer any questions!