You may have heard that one reason metal roofs are better is that they’re recyclable. But you may also know that asphalt roofing can be recycled and wonder why recycling asphalt shingles isn’t as good as recycling metal.
Here are four reasons recycling a metal roof is better than recycling an asphalt roof.
1. Made of Recycled Materials
Typically you won’t find an asphalt roof that’s both recyclable and made of a high percentage of recycled materials. Eco-friendly consumers often look for a product that has recycling on both ends of its lifespan, which is called closing the loop.
Because most metal roofing is made with recycled materials anyway, metal roofs close the loop much more easily than asphalt ones. In fact, much metal roofing is made with at least 25% and up to 95% recycled content. This percentage provides the roofing with an automatic eco-friendliness boost because less virgin material is required to manufacture the roof.
2. Can Be Recycled Indefinitely
Like paper, asphalt roofing can’t be recycled forever. In fact, asphalt roofs aren’t likely to be recycled back into asphalt roofs. Instead they’re typically used in making new roads. The industry then needs to source more virgin asphalt materials to make new roofs with.
Metal roofing, on the other hand, could be recycled back into roofing materials over and over. This may be one reason why it’s so easy to find metal roofing with high recycled content.
3. Lasts Longer Before It Needs Recycling
Even if both roofs are going to be recycled, a metal roof is more eco-friendly than a comparable asphalt roof because it will likely last longer before needing to be replaced. Recycling takes energy, water, and other resources. The recycling and remanufacturing process also typically produces pollutants, such as the greenhouse gases caused by creating electricity.
And once the material has been recycled into a new product, more energy and fossil fuels will be required to ship it to its final destination. So even if both asphalt and metal can be recycled, recycling them as infrequently as possible by extending their lifespans is the best bet for saving energy.
Metal roofs have a clear advantage here, since they tend to last much longer than asphalt roofs. A top-of-the-line asphalt roof may now be marketed to last 50 years, but 50 years is the low end of the lifespan for some types of metal roofing. And other types of metal roofing, such as zinc and copper, could last for a century or more (if you want the absolute high end).
4. Saves Energy and Emissions During Its Lifetime
It’s not just the manufacturing and end-of-life impact you have to look at, though. Your roof can actually increase or reduce the amount of greenhouse gases your home produced throughout the roof’s lifespan. That’s because a darker, heat-retentive roof (such as an asphalt roof) will help pull heat into your home rather than reflecting it away.
Typically, in a moderate or warm climate, more heat gain is undesirable for the majority of the year. Unwanted heat gain means you use more energy, running your AC longer. A more reflective metal roof can help you reduce the amount of heat pulled into your home in spring and summer, meaning you don’t use as much energy overall throughout the warmer months.
These four reasons demonstrate how if you’re looking for an eco-friendly roof, the recycled metal options are better than the recycled asphalt shingle options.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly roofing option or if you want to discuss which type of roofing might be best for your home, get in touch with Cloise & Mike Construction, Inc. We offer a variety of roofing types for installation, including metal roofing, composition shingles, and PVC roofing.