The Sustainability of Metal Roofing

When it comes to worry-free, sustainable roofing products, a metal roof may not be the first material you think of. It may seem unlikely, but the truth is metal is an excellent choice for "cool roofing," where energy conservation and reduced waste are important.

To start, metal efficiently reflects the sun's damaging rays, keeping your house cooler. To meet visual and style standards, people often choose to paint or power coat. Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that painting a metal roof white enabled it to repel about 95% of the heat from the environment, which is a very cool roof.

Metal makes a great choice for your home due to its durability and longevity, which only adds to its sustainability factor. Metal roofs can come in a number of different flavors; tin, aluminum, copper and galvanized steel are just a few of the more popular types. No matter what type you choose for your home, you can count on a metal roof to keep you and your family safe from the elements. In addition to resisting heavy rain, snow, ice and hail, metal roofs are also fire-resistant and impervious to even the most diabolical insect threats.

A metal roof on your home will last at least 30 years. The best part is unlike other roofing materials that may lose 20 to 40 percent of their reflectivity over time, metal roofs retain 95 percent of their reflectivity over their life.

Not only does metal roofing last for a long time, it is highly recyclable and can be coated to make cool roofing. A cool roof can significantly reduce a homeowner's energy usage. Below is a look at some of the reasons that metal roofs are considered sustainable.

Roofing contractor metal roof tilesThey Reduce Waste

When considering the sustainability of metal roofing it is important to compare it to the alternatives. Asphalt shingles are presently the most popular roofing material in the United States. They are easy to install and have a relatively low upfront cost. Asphalt shingles also have a notoriously short lifespan; according to State Farm's Learning Center website, asphalt shingles have a 12-20 year life cycle while metal roofs can last up to 70 years. Asphalt roofing also presently comprises most of the waste from residential construction in this country. The EPA estimates that 11 million tons of asphalt shingles wind up in landfills every year.

More Recyclable than Other Materials

Metal roofs can contain up to 95 percent recycled content and are 100 percent recyclable at the end of their life cycle. Consider the fact that steel can be recycled continuously without losing performance and is therefore much less likely to wind up in a landfill when compared to other roofing materials.

Can be Made into Cool Roofing

Metal roofing can be coated with special coatings that keep the surface cooler than uncoated roofing materials. This is due to the reflective properties of the coatings. The reflectivity of coated metal roofs can be as much as 82 percent with lighter colored coatings. Using a lighter color has the potential to make a home as much as 60 degrees cooler and result in homeowners spending 20 percent less on energy. Even with uncoated aluminum, reflectance is in the 60 percent range. This means both coated and uncoated metal roofs are more reflective than asphalt shingles, most of which fall below the 30 percent mark.

Along with their environmental friendliness, metal roofs offer numerous other benefits such as increased safety and minimal upkeep. Not to be forgotten is the effect of a metal roof on the value of a home. As more homebuyers show a preference for “green homes,” metal roofing can increase home value by as much as six percent, according to As people continue to move to a sustainable lifestyle, the adoption of metal roofs is expected to increase.

AMSI Supply delivers top-rated, sustainable materials to roofing contractors worldwide. Contact us at 770-920-1931 for more information.