A few days ago I designed a device to prevent the detritus that comes through my gutter downspout from clogging the drain pipe it feeds into. I won't bore you with the details. My roof is getting old and the grit from the tar shingles is coming loose.
I noticed the water was tar colored. This can't be good for runoff water quality. This got me to thinking about metal roofs.
They can be painted a light color to reflect solar radiation and are preferred for solar panel installations. They can also be recycled.
According to this study, a 30-foot-wide by 30-foot-long white metal roof would reflect enough solar radiation (depending on where you live and roof pitch) to offset roughly 10 tons of CO2, which coincidentally is about how much CO2 equivalent the average American house emits annually.
That's right, you can offset your home's CO2 footprint with a simple reflective colored metal roof. I suspect it would also reduce air conditioning costs and related emissions as well. That's a lot cheaper than trying to do it with solar panels. The combination of a white metal roof and solar panels could double the impact of just one or the other, depending. It's one of those rare "can't lose" situations.
And according to the EPA, this is what you would be offsetting:
The three main sources of greenhouse gas emissions from homes are electricity use, heating and waste. Emissions from electricity generation occur at the power plants that supply your electricity. In the U.S. , greenhouse gas emissions associated with home electricity use are about twice those associated with heating. The greenhouse gases associated with waste from your home occur at the landfill that receives your garbage.
My next roof will be metal.
Photo courtesy of jahluka via Flickr
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