Pollution levels are rising. Copious amounts of plastics are being deposited into our oceans. More and more land is being taken up by landfills. Because of this, many individuals are taking steps toward more sustainable lifestyles. These lifestyle changes usually start with small steps. Multi-use water bottles, glass containers for cleaning supplies, thrifting for new clothing, and even choosing which companies to purchase from depending on their environmental impact. However, a lot of people do not think about the overall sustainability of their home. A home is arguably the largest footprint they will leave.
The Current State of Our Environment
It is important to acknowledge the current state of our environment. Did you know these facts?
- 80% of the plastic in the ocean is estimated to come from land-based sources. This means that even if you dispose of something on land, there is a likelihood it may end up in our oceans.
- Scientists estimate that dozens of species of both plants and animals go extinct each day due to the environmental impact of humans.
- With the current statistics on waste created by Americans, we will no longer have space for our landfills in the next 62 years.
Asphalt Shingles: The Most Common Roofing Material
Asphalt shingles come with a much lower price tag than metal roofing. However, they also come with a much lower lifespan and higher negative impact on the environment. On average, asphalt shingles will last about 20 years. Not only will the shingles for your roof need to be manufactured every 20 years, they will also need to be disposed of. So, let’s break down the environmental impact of this less sustainable roofing option.
- First of all, asphalt shingles are a petroleum based product. This means that they are made from fossil fuels which are known to emit greenhouse gasses.
- Asphalt shingles will absorb a lot of heat, leading you to use your air conditioning more frequently. This means more costly bills and higher energy usage.
- Once your asphalt roof has reached the end of its life, the shingles generally end up in landfills.
“Approximately 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles are dumped into U.S. landfills every year,” according to the Metal Roofing Alliance. “While asphalt shingles can be recycled, the material contains carcinogenic compounds which are considered environmentally toxic and perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Metal Roofing: A Sustainable Option
Although you will need to prepare for a higher initial cost, you can easily expect your metal roof to last for decades longer than its asphalt competitor. Here are some more reasons why metal roofing is a more sustainable option:
- 100% recyclable after use. Not only will you not need to replace your metal roof as frequently as an asphalt roof, but metal roofing is completely recyclable. This allows you peace of mind in knowing this product won’t end up in the landfill.
- 95% post-consumer recycled content in aluminum products and 10% or more post-consumer recycled content in steel products. Even better than the fact that a metal roof is recyclable after use, the products that went in to creating the roof are often previously recycled materials.
- 20% or more savings on summer cooling costs. Metal roofing reflects between 70 and 90 percent of sun rays. This means that unlike its asphalt counterpart, you won’t be turning up the A/C to keep cool.
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