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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Jun 2, 2020 8:00 AM

Why Metal Makes a Great Sustainable Roof

Metal roofing is considered the most environmentally friendly roofing option because it is not only made from a high percentage of recycled materials, usually a minimum of 25%, but it can also be 100% recycled when it is replaced (typically, several decades after installation!).  

Environmental Impact of Roofing Materials

CTA for recover guideHome and building owners are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their roofing. Who doesn't prefer to leave our world a little better than they found it! Metal roofing is the most sustainable roofing choice due to the recycled materials content and the fact that it is 100% recyclable at the end of its long service-life, in many cases up to 60 years or more.

Metal roofs are also more durable than other roofing materials which means fewer repair and replace possibilities. Hail, wind, fire and storm damage are far less likely with a metal roof because they are rated Class 4 by Underwriters Laboratories. This rating means that metal roofs will survive much harsher conditions than those that are not rated Class 4.

Residence-Orange-VA[1] CroppedMetal roofs significantly reduce energy consumption due to high reflectivity and thermal emittance. Metal roofs reflect sunlight and retain less heat energy than other roofing materials. Other roofing materials can lose from 20 to 40 percent of their reflectivity over time where metal roofs retain 95 percent of their reflectivity capacity over the life of the roof. These characteristics reduce the energy required to heat and cool a home or building which is a huge sustainable advantage as well as a benefit to the building owner.

What about asphalt shingles?

Due to low cost and ease of availability, the most common roofing material is asphalt shingles . Asphalt shingles are manufactured from crude oil and chemicals. They are typically not recycled and take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill. Many landfills will even require large fees to accept shingles for disposal. Approximately 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles are sent to landfills every year. That is not a sustainable model.

A quick rundown of roofing material types and key points about their sustainability:

Metal roofing

  • Long service life-can be 60 years or longer
  • Energy efficient
  • Made of recycled material
  • 100% recyclable at end of life
  • Low weight, less than half the weight of asphalt shingles
  • Lower weight allows the building structure to be lighter and use less material
  • Ships easily
  • Can often be installed over existing roofs preventing the old roof from being sent to a landfill

Asphalt shingles

  • Made from crude oil and other chemicals
  • Ends up in landfills after shorter lifespan


  • Considered an eco-friendly roofing material as long as it is purchased from a sustainable FSC approved manufacturer
  • Heavy weight of material increases shipping expense


  • Considered eco-friendly
  • Heavy weight of material increases shipping expense
  • Heavy weight of material may require structural inspection prior to adding slate roof

For those that prefer to be eco-conscious and desire their building to be sustainable there is another benefit. Using metal roofing can increase the building's value by as much as six percent, according to

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About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.

Topics: Metal Roofing, Sustainability

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