We can look to more energy-efficient Green Roofs for our homes in the Okanagan if we are building or planning on replacing our roofs. There is a strong movement for green roofs in urban areas and a trend to metal roofs. Other options exist with tile, slate, composite and other products. For this article, we will focus in on the two more popular choices that replace asphalt shingle with living roofs and metal roofs.
Most roofs in the Okanagan are asphalt shingle roofing. These are dependent on our oil industry and are not the most environmentally-friendly choice. The good news is asphalt shingles are recyclable as the materials used are petroleum-based with fiberglass or paper reinforcing.
Trends in environmentally friendly building techniques have seen a rise in urban areas for Eco roofing options. These are ideal for flat roofs on commercial building, condos and some custom residential construction. The problem for most green roofs with living plants and biomass is the cost to create them. ( $18 per sqft and higher). The green roof involves a watertight membrane and then a system of trays, growing medium and plants to create a grass or plant rooftop.
The benefits of these types of Green Roof are significant and include:
- Reducing wastewater runoff
- Lowering the cooling needs of a building in the summer by 50 to 90%
- Lowering the Urban heat island effect of our cities
- Creating a Carbon sink for our cities
- improving air quality
Newer systems have wind anchors to help prevent the plants and vegetation from being damaged in high winds.
For many urban homes and higher density Kelowna condo, the trend is to build flat roof houses. We have a fairly small snow load in the valley and green roof options are becoming more common as rooftop patios and green spaces are desirable for homeowners. A blend of rooftop patio spaces with planters and green roofing systems is generating a lot of interest.
For those homes with a sloped roof at a 4/12 pitch (18.5 degrees) and up to 12/12 (45 degrees) pitch the option for steel or aluminum roofing is very attractive. Metal roofing material can be installed in a number of different ways and can feature a hidden strip for fastening to the roof. Aluminum comes in a variety of styles and widths and is anodized to provide for safe water runoff.
Many people may not consider a metal roof as a more ecologically sound option but it is. The type of material a roof is constructed of plays a role in the environmental footprint of a building. Steel shingle roofs are more durable than Aluminum and can have a life of 100 years. Aluminum usually comes with a 50-year guarantee which is double most asphalt shingle warranties.
Metal roofs have many benefits and include:
- Recyclable steel and aluminum
- Highly durable
- Can be installed over shingles
- Reflects more energy in summer
- Ideal for water collection
If you are considering a new roof or looking to build a new home in Kelowna take a close look at green roof options. It is one area where you will see a positive return on your investment in heat and cooling savings over the years. You will also have a smaller carbon footprint by not relying on petroleum-based asphalt shingles for your roofing needs. You may also contribute to your community by creating a home that generates less heat from the solar energy absorbed into our urban buildings and roads.
Green roof options have lots of resources online. Check out a few favorites at
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