When you care about keeping pollution to a minimum, that typically affects many of your actions in life. On a daily basis, you might make choices such as using reusable bags at the store and using washable towels in place of paper towels. When it comes to making big changes, such as replacing your home's roof, the stakes are even higher. There could potentially be a lot of waste created by a re-roofing project, and not all roofing products are made in the most eco-friendly manner, either. However, there are a couple of roofing options that can help keep pollution under control.
Cedar roofing used to be really common before asphalt shingles took over the roofing market. There was nothing really wrong with cedar shakes; they just were not quite as durable or attractive as the new asphalt shingles were at the time, which meant most people moved on from them. However, cedar shakes can still last 30 years — and longer in mild climates. They're obviously made from natural wood, so when they are removed from you home, they'll biodegrade naturally, rather than releasing any pollutants.
Some homeowners worry that cedar shakes will cause pollution because they'll have to apply a waterproofer or insecticide to the roof. However, this is not necessary. Cedar contains natural oils that repel insects, and it also sheds water on its own.
Do you know all of those aluminum cans that get tossed into recycling bins? Well, they are used to make all sorts of things, and one of those things is aluminum roofing panels. Aluminum roofing has quite a modern look, but it's a much better roofing material than people realize. It can last for 40 years or more, and when you're done with it, you can typically recycle it yet again!
Aluminum roofing won't rust. Plus, the metal surface is really good at reflecting the sun's rays, so your energy bills will stay lower in the summertime. Most aluminum roofs are painted and will need re-painting every decade or so, but there are no-VOC and low-VOC paints that can be used for this purpose.
If one of your goals in life is to generate less pollution, then you should choose either a cedar or an aluminum roof. Cedar breaks down when you're done with it, and aluminum can be recycled again. Talk to your roofing contractor to learn more about these options.