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Green Roofing Makes Beautiful Dollars and Sense

Picture a green roof and what comes to mind? It might be a thatched roof you saw on a lovely old house in a rural country town in Europe, or perhaps a home from a movie you saw about fairies, elves and wizards. Whatever the view, it's probably not likely the vision in your head is of your home, covered in vegetation. But close your eyes, and think again; it very well could be.

Green roofs are not the heavy turf roofs of year's past, and the notion that they might be too heavy for your home is no longer true, thanks to advancements in the products. And, you don't have to mow it, either. The reasons to go green on your roof are many. Some include protecting your environment, and others are simply great for the homeowner:


  • Insulation properties. Your home will stay warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer, potentially saving you money on your energy bills.
  • Green roofs last almost twice as long as traditional roofs, saving major money on replacement costs.
  • Reduce the overall impact of your home's effect on the global temperature. According to BioOne Journal, a green roof can absorb the heat from the sun, unlike hard, shiny roofing materials, thereby lessening the "heat-island" effect many urban areas produce.
  • Provide a home for wildlife. A thriving eco-culture could be living on your roof, including beneficial plants, insects and birds.
  • Sound insulation. A roofing system of vegetation absorbs noise, giving you a quieter home environment.
  • Simply more beautiful. What's prettier, a lush, green, alive roofing systems, or hard, cold tile?

A green roof on every home, that's the dream of Tim Elam, designer and developer of the GoGreenRoof system in Reno, Nevada. Elam believes everyone can have a green roof, and all it takes is a few brave people to get the movement started. One of his goals is to educate the public about the advancement in building materials which make green roofing available to everyone. The materials today are lighter, more efficient, and require less maintenance than green roofs in the past. Vegetation has come a long way, too, with new plants requiring less water, and they have shallow root systems that make them lighter in weight. These new technologies, according to Elam, make it possible for all roofs to be green roofs.

While roofing contractors haven't started using green roofs in mainstream building, cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., are leading the way. Chicago has more than 500,000 square feet of green roofs, and Washington, D.C., has more than 190,000 square feet. Plus, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the green industry in the United States grew 16.1% in 2009.

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Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products.

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