While cost is certainly the main factor of any home renovation project, when it comes to green living, many homeowners are willing to pay a little more for greener exterior finishing elements than the standard choices. Green living goes beyond the bottom line – it is an investment in sustainability, livability, longevity, physical health, and mental wellness. If you are planning an exterior home renovation this year, consider eco-friendly options for items such as the roof, gutters or windows.
A homeowner might be surprised to discover that there are a lot of options for eco-friendly roofs, everything from roofing materials to complete roofing systems.
Metal roof: A metal roof is fire-resistant, energy-efficient, durable, pest-proof, and lasts a long time.
Cedar shingles: A cedar shingle roof can gracefully weather heavy rains and active windstorms. Roofs made of cedar shingles naturally resist insects and provide an innate level of insulation.
White roof: A white roof, also known as a cool roof, is made of a roofing material that is white. Of course, the more environmentally friendly the material the better, but the general goal is the same – to reduce the roof’s temperature and keep the interior of the house cool.
Living roof: Also known as green roofs, living roofs are constructed of vegetation covering a part of the roof or the entire roof. A living roof is more energy efficient than conventional roofing systems; has an extended lifespan; is fire-resistant; and protects against noise pollution.
In many cases going green with new gutters can be as simple as choosing aluminum gutters over a vinyl gutter system. While generally high-end, copper gutters are a sustainable, natural choice. Both aluminum gutters and copper gutters are relatively easy to maintain. When choosing an eco-friendly gutter system, look for:
- durable materials
- materials that are low-maintenance
- the highest grade of metal your budget allows
- products produced responsibly from sustainable resources or recycled materials
Another way to improve your home’s exterior is to replace the current siding with sustainable or recyclable siding materials. The siding material you choose should have a high R-value – the material’s ability to resist heat from passing through it. Eco-friendly siding choices include:
- cement panels
- bark siding
- engineered or composite wood products that have been ethically manufactured without harsh chemicals
- cement fiber board
- brick or stone
Window that allow warm air to escape outside are not environmentally friendly. They also let cold air in which makes it more expensive for you to heat your home. Energy-efficient windows should:
- be double-paned to minimize the use of heating and cooling systems
- be made of low emissivity glass
- include frames produced from earth-friendly materials
- be properly sealed
- have a high ER or Energy Ratings number
Whether your home renovation project involves a new roof, new siding or replacement windows, consider hiring earth-friendly contractors. They will be installation professionals who employ techniques to reduce waste and cause less harm to the environment, including working with product manufacturers and suppliers that use similar manufacturing methods designed to produce better and smarter products