Green Benefits of Metal Roofing
I hope this finds you well!
In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, I would like to review the additional “green” benefits of residential metal roofing.
Whether referring to the sustainability of composite siding or the efficiency of plumbing fixtures, green benefits play a significant role in the decision making process for most consumers. Regardless of their overall effectiveness, EnergyStar, LEED, and other initiatives have made “green” top-of-mind, so we must give proper attention to it in the sales process. And, fact is, metal roofing is one of the greenest products available, allowing us to build even more value into our presentation.
We are have already covered the sustainability and energy efficiency of metal roofing; but if we can go beyond these and properly articulate the additional green benefits, we significantly widen our customer base as well. Our typical customer has long been the relatively affluent 50+ year old who wishes to never re-roof again. But we are seeing more and more premium metal roofs being purchased by consumers in their thirties who are conscious of the environment and their impact on it. They see the same value in a metal roof as their hybrid vehicle and we miss these consumers if we fail to acknowledge all the green benefits of metal roofing.
The recycled content of metal roofing is a critical green benefit. Depending on the manufacturer, steel systems can be manufactured from up to 30% recycled steel and aluminum systems over 90% – utilizing recycled metal instead of “going back to the well” for virgin raw materials and further depleting the earth’s scarce resources and energy. Creating steel from recycled content uses only about 40% of the energy as using virgin material, only 10% for aluminum.
Many of us diligently collect and sort the recyclables we generate – canned goods, print publications, aluminum cans, etc – and carry them to the curb each week to do our part to support the environment. We know what we can do to feed the system, but what major purchases can we make to support the recycling loop? Roofing with metal is one of the few opportunities and a cherished one for the green-conscious consumer.
Not only is most metal roofing manufactured from recycled metal, but painted metal roofing is fully recyclable at the end of its functional life (this is not the case unfortunately for products with an aggregate or stone coating). After 80 – 100 years, a painted metal roof can be removed and recycled as opposed to becoming landfill. No other roofing material can claim to be as green over the entirety of its life.
Due to the low weight of metal roofing (which we covered at length in a previous Executive Report), metal can be installed over an existing layer of asphalt shingles. There are likely code requirements to take into consideration, but at 40 – 45 lbs/sq for aluminum and 80 – 90 lbs/sq for steel, a metal roof will add very little additional weight to the structure. By not tearing off the old shingles, we are conserving landfill space, adding some R-value to the home, and allowing the consumer’s discretionary dollars to be spent on a better roof system rather than a tear-off.
I know some disagree and believe it is best practice to remove the old shingles. Speaking from our experience, over 60% of our roofs each year are installed over a layer of asphalt shingles and, in 35 years of business, we have yet to encounter a project where we regretted it later on.
Not every homeowner is especially green-conscious and these benefits will mean more to some than others, but they are benefits nonetheless and are critical components to our value proposition. By giving proper attention to these benefits, we can further separate ourselves from competing alternatives and appeal to those consumers who are looking for the greenest roof available.
Thank you for reading and your contributions to this conversation. I would always relish the opportunity to learn from your experience and expertise, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
You may pull quotes from this article provided you include a link back to the original article on this site. You may not reprint this full article, or even a significant amount of the article, without explicit permission. To gain permission, click here.