Metal is one of the most sustainable building materials out there. Not only is it the most recycled material in the world, but its durability and efficiency make it very eco-friendly compared to other building components. In Canadian manufactured steel, the recycled content can be as high as 95%. In North America alone, over 70 million tonnes of steel are recycled annually.
Steel building products substantially help reduce waste in construction. Metal roofing can be installed over old roofing, which prevents the build up of old shingles in landfills. This popular method also saves money and time during installation. Not to mention, metal roofing also far outlasts other types of roofing materials. Asphalt roofs typically need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years. They contribute 11 million tonnes of waste to landfills per year, whereas metal roofs typically last upwards of 50 years. Even at the end of its life, a metal roof can still be recycled instead of thrown out.
Metal roofs are also sustainable because they are very energy efficient. Asphalt roofs tend to absorb more heat than they reflect and the absorbed heat puts a burden on internal cooling systems. Metal roofs however, reflect heat with proper installation and ventilation. Homeowners with metal roofs can save as much as 15% to 25% on air conditioning costs! (depending on a building’s construction) In addition, with proper installation and decking and insulation materials, metal roofing loses no heat in the winter.
Case Study: Casa Verde, Lethbridge County, Alberta
Just outside the small city of Lethbridge, is the locally famous Net-Zero home. This home is the result of the partnership of Energy Smart Canada, Greener Homes Ltd and Touchstone Homes. This home is off-grid ready. This means it produces as much energy as it consumes and could function independently from the energy grid. The house uses a combination of geothermal, solar, and energy-efficient construction methods to achieve its Net-Zero status.
Casa Verde’s roof is made of metal. The steel roof helps to achieve maximum energy efficiency by reflecting radiant energy. A metal roof is optimal for keeping a steady, non-fluctuating temperature in the house. This helps to reduce the home’s overall environmental footprint. The house has won many awards for its energy efficiency and sustainability.