What is the most energy efficient roofing material?
Investigation into the energy efficiency of roofing materials has revealed which roofing material outperforms other commonly used roofing materials in a number of key areas.
Investigation into the energy efficiency of roofing materials has revealed that roof tiles outperform a range of other commonly used roofing materials in a number of key areas, including thermal performance, solar absorbance, longevity, low embodied energy and reusability.
With their enormous practical benefits, roof tiles are a sustainable roofing solution, creating minimal environmental damage through manufacture and offering the prospect of recycling and reuse at the end of their product life.
Embodied energy is a term used to measure the amount of energy used in the extraction of raw materials, their transportation to the point of manufacture, the production process, delivery to the building site, and installation of the product.
In his publication, Materials, Energy and the Environment, in which he conducted an investigation into the embodied energy of Australia’s most common roofing materials, Bill Lawson discovered that roof tiles had the lowest embodied energy of the three materials tested.
The test was conducted by creating three test rigs made of typical construction materials with alteration of one independent variable: the roofing material. The results of the testing identified concrete roof tiles as the lowest embodied energy product followed by terracotta roof tiles.
Not surprisingly, given the high energy intensive blasting process used in its manufacture, sheet metal roofing attained the highest embodied energy of the three roofing materials tested.
In addition, tiles are offered with more extensive warranty periods and have the ability to be reused and recycled. The ability to reuse a product lengthens its lifecycle and ensures the energy used during manufacture is spread over a longer time period, achieving greater efficiency. Roof tiles can be reused simply by removing them from one building and transferring them to another, eliminating the energy consumption and cost associated with manufacturing a new product. Reuse of building materials like roof tiles commonly saves about 95 percent of embodied energy that would otherwise be wasted.
Commenting on the research, Michael Monro, marketing and sales coordinator at Bristile Roofing, notes, “It is inevitable that buildings, in their construction and ongoing use, will have an impact on the environment. For this reason, it is important that manufacturers, builders, architects and consumers ensure the products they produce, specify or purchase offer both aesthetic and functional benefits in order to keep energy consumption at a minimum and minimise impact on our environment.”