Many Australian homeowners in the process of renovating, replacing or building roofs for their homes are turning to sustainable roofing materials. The Australian Greenhouse Office says that 39 percent of household energy costs come from cooling and heating systems. Since roofs are some of the largest external facing surfaces of the home, choice of roofing materials can make a big difference to the building’s energy requirements.
When it comes to saving energy (and costs) and making sure that your impact on the environment is minimal, there is a lot you can do during the process of building or rebuilding roofing. This includes choosing roofing materials that save energy in the home, cultivating “green roofs” and even energy-contributing solar roof tiles.
Roofing tiles are the most energy efficient of all roofing materials, when you compare them with materials like metal that have high conductivity. Tiles have two qualities that make them ideal for sustainable roofs. The natural insulating properties of the roof tile materials are enhanced by their higher reflecting properties when compared with metal roofs. Studies have shown that tiles can reflect as much as 75.4 percent solar energy as compared with 67.6 percent solar energy reflection by metal roofs.
The way these tiles are installed also makes a difference. Roofing tiles are installed singly, instead of being overlapped or in sheets. The air around the tiles therefore is able to create another insulating barrier through the process of natural ventilation.
Eco-friendly Roofing Materials
Among roof tiles, terracotta and concrete tiles are the most eco-friendly of all roof tile materials and they are durable as a bonus. Concrete tiles can last for over fifty years. Terracotta tiles are resistant to frost and non-combustible. They also come in many different finishes.
What makes them eco-friendly is their source and production process. Terracotta tiles are made from abundant natural terracotta clay that emits negligible pollutants when you compare it with other roofing materials. Concrete tiles are manufactured in a low intensity process as compared with other materials.
Both types of tiles can easily be replaced, reused and recycled.
Solar Roof Tiles
The latest technology has made solar tiles available for urban roofing. These solar tiles are typically made of modern lightweight composite material. They may be able to generate hot water and electricity with freely available solar energy to supplement your traditional energy needs. With solar roofing, not only are you adopting a sustainable solution, you can also save costs.
Many new homes are seeing the installation of “green roofs”. These are roofs that support plants in order to improve the building’s energy performance. Many offices are also adopting “green” architecture to create ecologically responsible and healthy spaces.
All types of roofs – pitched or flat – can be partly or wholly planted with a garden over a waterproof membrane. The vegetation is typically planted over a growing medium that may be soil treated with different additives to retain water. These roofs can cut the use of air-conditioning by as much as 38 percent, according to researchers at University of Melbourne’s Burnley campus. Plants and soil reflect heat and provide insulation and shade, making green roofs an excellent roofing option for urban spaces in extreme climate.
These are some of the best sustainable roofing options invading Australian homes. Are you in the process of building or repairing the roofing in your home? Your local roofer can help you find the best sustainable roofing material for your home.