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Green Roofing 101

When considering a “green roof,” or a roof that is environmentally friendly, you ought to take two main things into consideration: the specific material, and the color.


Since your roofing material is the final layer of protection from the outdoor elements and from indoor heat loss, it’s arguably the most important structure in all of your home. When asking the question “is it green? Consider:

  • The raw material source
  • composition
  • manufacturing process
  • durability
  • life cycle
  • maintenance

When looking at various materials, you aren’t going to come across one specific substance that out performs all the other substances in these categories. Some other better than others, in different regards. For instance, clay has a vary natural manufacturing process, but maintenance is difficult, where as some metals tend to be made through a process that harms the environemt, but they tend to be extremely durable.


It’s a simple fact of science that light colors reflect heat, while darker colors absorb it. With that said, the color roof you choose, will really all depend on the climate in which you live. We’re not asking you to completely reject style though – choose a color that will be energy efficient, yet still blend will the the design of the rest of your home.

“Breaking Down” The Materials

Asphalt Shingles

Pros: easy to install, relatively durable, cost-effective

Cons: doesn’t insulate well, made from petroleum products, non-recycleable


Pros: available in many different types (copper, aluminum, and stainless steel), often recycleable, high insulative value, high solar reflectance, high durability, often lasting twice as long as wood or asphalt.

Cons: virgin metals require large amounts of energy to transport and manufacture, can be very costly.


Pros: tends to have a higher insulative value than asphalt, becomes more beautiful with age.

Cons: expensive to purchase and install, often doesn’t pass fire codes unless treated with toxic fire retardent chemicals, which are harmful to the environment.


Pros: good insulative value, Class A fire-rated, come in many different colors.

Cons: pricier than conventional roofs.


Pros: extremely durable, recyclable, comes in a variety of colors.

Cons: very costly, non-renewable resource.

We hope you’ve come to the understanding that when choosing a green roof, there is no simple solution. Now have some basic knowledge to make an informed decision about your eco-friendly roof.

If you need some help with your Chicago roof, don’t hesitate to contact M. Walter Roofing. We’re a premier Chicago roofing company, that specializes in roof repair in Chicago. Whether your interest is green roofing, or patching up a small hole that’s causing a leak, we’re your go-to Chicago roofing contractors!