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4 Sustainable Roofing and Siding Solutions Every Homebuilder Should Utilize

April 17, 20247 min read

Welcome to the final week of our exploration into advanced building techniques. Today, we shift our focus to the exterior of homes, specifically roofing and siding materials.

The first thing we notice about a home is its curb appeal. As a result, homebuilders are given the critical task of crafting stunning, aesthetically pleasing home exteriors with the right materials.

Yet more should go into this decision than looks. Roofing and siding can have a significant impact on a home’s energy efficiency, making it an untapped resource for creating efficient yet affordable Net-Zero Energy Homes.

Join us as we uncover the latest advancements in sustainable roofing and siding, paving the way for a greener, more resilient future.

How Roofing & Siding Has Evolved in the States

The Evolution of Roofing and Siding

Roofing and siding play a crucial role in protecting homes from the elements while also contributing to energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. And how we view these elements, as well as the materials they are made with, has evolved dramatically during the history of construction.

In the early days of homebuilding, the focus of roofing and siding was availability and practicality. Transportation offered limited options, and importing materials was far too costly or impractical for most builders. As a result, clay tile, wood, and slate were the preferred materials available for roofing in the states. 

But by the nineteenth century, we were able to add metal and copper to the mix, as planes, trains, and automobiles began to open up new highways for building options. In the twentieth century, a new material was added to the mix: asphalt. 

Today, many homes follow the same blueprint. Slate, asphalt, or clay roofs paired with metal, brick, stone, wood, vinyl, or aluminum wall siding. Each material provides its own pros and cons, and some modern materials are much more sustainable than others.

But just because things have been this way for a while doesn’t mean you’re stuck building the same home again and again—or that you should. As sustainability takes center stage in the construction industry, innovative solutions are emerging to redefine the way we think about exterior building materials.

In recent years, the construction industry has witnessed a surge in sustainable alternatives to traditional roofing and siding materials. We’ll explore these options below, as well as the long-term financial benefits of building sustainably.

The Benefits of Using Recycled Content Materials for Roofing & Siding

4 Innovative Sustainable Roofing & Siding Solutions for Homebuilders

1. Recycled Content Materials

Manufacturers are increasingly utilizing recycled content materials such as reclaimed wood, recycled plastic, and recycled metal for roofing and siding products. These materials not only reduce waste but also offer durability and performance comparable to traditional counterparts.

Recycled shingles are surprisingly affordable and durable, lasting for 50 years or longer depending on your climate. For siding, aluminum is the easiest recycled material to find, though you can also find several types of recycled wood and metal.

Reconstituted or recycled (engineered) siding isn’t just cost-effective. It provides superior longevity and density, resists cracking, and can even have zero flame spread.

2. Cool Roofing Technologies

Cool roofing technologies, including reflective coatings and light-colored materials, are designed to minimize heat absorption and reduce cooling loads during hot weather. By reflecting sunlight instead of absorbing it, cool roofs help lower energy consumption and mitigate the urban heat island effect. 

Lowering the roof temperature reduces:

  • Cooling electricity needs and cost

  • Peak power demand

  • The ambient temperature of surrounding air

While this technology can increase your heating bills in the winter, it improves the home’s comfort, slows smog formation, decreases waste disposal, and and reduces urban heat during the summertime.

These benefits are especially important in larger cities, regions with blistering summers like the Texas Panhandles, or areas with high air pollution.

The Benefits of Living Walls & Green Roofs

3. Green Roofs and Living Walls

Green roofs and living walls are gaining popularity as sustainable alternatives that enhance both the aesthetic and environmental performance of buildings. These vegetative systems provide natural insulation, improve air quality, and mitigate stormwater runoff, making them valuable additions to sustainable building design.

Green roofs can extend a roof’s lifespan by 2-3 times, and a University of Michigan study estimates that a 21,000-square-foot green roof could save over $200,000 in energy costs over its lifetime. Similarly, green walls reduce interior temperature and sound reflection, saving you an estimated 23% on energy bills.

4. Solar Roofing Integration

Solar roofing systems, which incorporate photovoltaic (PV) panels directly into roofing materials, are revolutionizing the way we generate renewable energy. These integrated systems seamlessly blend with traditional roofing materials while harnessing solar energy to power homes and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Solar panels have come a long way in recent years, now available in a variety of colors and styles. In the past, storms and cloud cover would stop energy absorption altogether. But today, technology allows you to continue to store energy even in poor weather conditions, a must in areas like the Texas Panhandle where the weather is exceptionally unpredictable.

Why Homebuilders Should Use Sustainable Materials for Roofing & Siding

The Top Benefits of Using Sustainable Roofing and Siding Materials in Residential Construction

The adoption of sustainable roofing and siding materials offers a myriad of benefits for homeowners, builders, and the environment. The most significant include:

  • Energy Efficiency: Sustainable roofing and siding materials contribute to improved energy efficiency by reducing heat transfer, minimizing thermal bridging, and enhancing insulation properties.

  • Durability and Longevity: Many sustainable materials boast superior durability and longevity compared to traditional options, providing increased resistance to weathering, UV exposure, and pests.

  • Environmental Stewardship: By using recycled content materials, minimizing resource extraction, and promoting renewable energy generation, sustainable roofing and siding solutions help reduce environmental impact and support broader sustainability goals.

Key Considerations for Choosing Roofing & Siding for Homes

Key Considerations When Choosing Roof & Siding Materials for a Home

The Local Weather

Certain sustainable building practices can hold up well against heavy winds, downpours, and hail. Others, not so much. If you live in a region where the weather can be severe, it’s important to consider how these storms might affect your home.

Most recycled roof and siding materials are actually more durable than the alternative, making them better suited for storm-prone areas. But living walls and roofs may struggle to survive in areas with hail, high winds, and droughts. 

Additionally, if your region is prone to hail, you’ll want to ensure your solar panels come with a good warranty. While modern solar panels are typically durable and built to withstand most weather patterns, heavy storms can cause damage to panels and require homeowners to schedule regular maintenance for optimal performance.

The Home Design

Another key consideration when choosing sustainable roofing and siding solutions is the home’s exterior design. The color, style, materials, plants, and panel location should all complement the home’s design, enhancing your curb appeal and elevating the home’s value.

The Homeowners’ Maintenance Preferences & Lifestyle

Because many sustainable roofing and siding options are more durable, they’re incredibly low maintenance and a good fit for most homeowners. However, other sustainable home features may require more maintenance efforts on the homeowners’ end.

Solar panels will need regular cleaning and inspection to ensure they run at their full potential year-round, especially following bad weather. Green roofs and living walls will require regular upkeep to keep the plants healthy and growing. 

The homeowners’ lifestyle should also play a role when choosing sustainable roofing and siding options, particularly in terms of how many solar panels to include and what type is needed. Some homeowners will want to be fully independent of the grid with their energy consumption, while others might opt for the more cost-effective alternative over big and bulky solar batteries.

How Roofing & Siding Can Help You Build Sustainable Homes

With Each Green Home You Build, You’re Shaping the Future of Building Design

Today, it's clear that the construction industry is undergoing a transformative shift toward greener, more resilient building practices. By embracing sustainable alternatives and harnessing the power of innovative technologies, we can create homes that not only withstand the test of time but also contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet.

At Caprock Design + Build, we’re committed to shaping the future of building design, one sustainable innovation at a time. If you’re dreaming of building your forever home in the Texas Panhandle area, we’re here to help.

Schedule a meeting with our team now, and we’ll get to know your needs for your house, walk you through our CAPROCK VISION process, and help you determine whether we’re the right fit for your family.

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Green buildingEco-friendly homeSustainable roofingSustainable sidingHome designNew home constructionNet-Zero Energy Home buildingCool roofingLiving wallsSolar panels
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