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Types of Sustainable Roofing Materials to consider during construction

In residential construction, there’s been a big shift towards sustainability. There’s no denying that the industry is one of the big users of the Earth’s natural resources, so it’s important that companies and developers start looking for greener alternatives in construction.

One way they can do this is by using sustainable roof materials. The roof of a house is arguably one of the most important parts of the structure; not only does it protect the inside from the elements, but it also plays a part in the home’s heat loss and gain. Of course, we want homes with durable, energy-efficient roofs, but we need to ask ourselves if they are truly sustainable?

Technology has come a long way in the past decade, and what classes as a sustainable roof is not just limited to a ‘green’ or ‘living’ roof. There are now plenty of sustainable roofing materials that construction companies can choose from.

In the blog below, we’ll take a look at what makes a roofing material sustainable, the different types and why it’s so important to both the environment and the people who live in the home.

Why is sustainable roofing important?

Current methods of construction are not sustainable; natural resources are running out, wild habitats are being built over and there are too many carbon emissions being produced. Whether it be in the roof or the foundations, the way we construct houses needs to change.

The construction industry as a whole needs to start incorporating environmental responsibility into their business plans and methods. The best place to start is by using sustainable raw materials in construction.

Types of sustainable roofing

Okay, so how do you know if a type of roof material is sustainable or not? Below, we’ve picked some of the common types of roofing to inspect whether or not they’re suitable as a sustainable roofing material.


Most metal roofs are made up of recycled content and are pretty easy to recycle again at the end of their lifetime. They’re very durable and are long-lasting. To make it more sustainable, you could source some scrap metal and upcycle it to reuse it as a roofing material.


Slate is a very durable material that can last for up to a hundred years. If you can source some second-hand slate, you could look at repurposing it to help the environment.

Clay tile

Clay tiles are another sustainable roofing material that’s been around for hundreds of years. Better known as terra cotta, these tiles are very durable and are made with natural clay that is shaped and fired. Clay is a plentiful resource, and although a clay roof might cost more upfront, it’s an investment that will go a long way to help you save the environment.


Wood roofing, known as wood shakes and shingles, are one of the very few truly sustainable roofing materials. This is because wood is a renewable resource, assuming that the roofing comes from sustainably harvested trees. Other roofing materials might be recyclable, but unlike slate or metal, we can always plant more trees.

Green roofs

Green, or living roofs, are an unexpected sustainable roofing type that is quickly gaining popularity. Green roofs have grass or other biophilia growing on top of the roof of the house. Besides being green, they also have excellent insulation, absorb rainwater, and can reduce the heat island effect in urban environments.

Top tips for choosing what material to use

Each type of roof material has both its negatives and positives when it comes to sustainability and durability. So what are some top tips when it comes to choosing a material that does more good than harm? Here are a few things for you to consider:

  • Recyclability: When purchasing your roof material, check to see if it contains recycled content. Also, find out if the material can be recycled again at the end of the roof's lifespan.

  • Toxic coatings: Some roof materials have toxic coatings that can wash into water sources and damage aquatic habitats. Copper and zinc are the biggest culprits of this.

  • Durability: Sustainability is important, but so is the durability of your roof. No one wants to spend time and money on maintaining their roof every year!

  • Weight: Heavy roofs are great for durability and their long-lasting lifespans, but check that the house’s new/existing structure can support the weight of the roof material.

  • Warranty: Pick a roof type with a long warranty, as this is a good indication of the quality and durability of the material.

Finedale Construction’s environmental responsibility

Being green is a goal most companies want to achieve; whilst we hope to be as green as possible, it's also important to remember that as a sector, we can do so much more to start our journey towards a more environmentally friendly future.

At Finedale Construction, we’ve begun to introduce a number of plans that are easily achievable, and will ultimately lead towards helping the immense environmental challenges we all face today.

During the design process, we designate an appropriate spot within the complex to house wildlife. Our insect hotels, hedgehog houses, bird and butterfly boxes all lead to a healthy ecosystem for wildlife to flourish in their homes without disruption. Healthy ecosystems clean our water, purify our air, maintain our soil, regulate the climate, recycle nutrients and provide us with food so they’re incredibly important and beneficial to our lives. Also, Finedale chose to not use concrete bottom panels on our fencing, we always use traditional fencing that allows Hedgehogs and other wildlife to move through the gardens and into other environments.

In addition, Finedale supplies each completed property with a children’s wildlife guide, as education is probably the most important factor when it comes to tackling the environmental crisis. The guides explain which animals and insects they may be able to spot within their corner and how each one of them plays their part in the environment.

Furthermore, we carefully select which plants to use, keeping the best homes and food for our wildlife, ensuring that the garden areas are bio-diverse. This encourages multiple beneficial elements such as seed disposal, pollination, natural waste removal, and of course, the design will also look great!

Being eco-friendly is just as important for our animals as it is for us. Due to this, we also have eco-friendly options for the property buyers, for example, using water butts for garden watering. Whilst the practical side comes first we also want to design aesthetically pleasing concepts throughout our properties so every addition will be practical but also visually trendy to encourage continued use.

If you’re interested in collaborating with us for your residential home project, then why not get in touch?


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