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3 Ways Metal Roofs Support Sustainable Construction

Metal roofing systems require little maintenance to provide long-term performance and beauty. In fact, they can last two to three times as long as other roofing materials. This can help lower the total cost of ownership over a building’s lifetime. But as sustainability and energy efficiency further drive material selection choices, building professionals may be curious about how metal roofs support sustainable construction practices.

Although roofs and their materials were once touted as the least energy-efficient component of a building, metal roofs have garnered a different reputation. Made with recycled content, and fully recyclable at the end of their lifespan, metal roofs can also be locally manufactured to reduce embodied carbon. Further, these systems have a greater resistance to extreme weather and offer a longer service life to reduce the need to repair and replace panels. Finally, metal roofs support several advanced roofing techniques that contribute to more energy-efficient operation.

1. Superior quality, locally sourced materials

Metal roofs made from American steel and aluminum offer proven quality. They also support more sustainable construction practices. Metal panels are manufactured with up to 60 percent recycled content, reducing the impact caused by mining and refining steel from raw materials. And because they can be recycled at the end of their service life, they can feed into a circular economy, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste. What’s more, because companies like Drexel Metals have manufacturing and distribution locations all across the United States, metal panels can be delivered to project sites quickly and with less environmental impact than systems shipped from overseas.

2. Metal roofs are resilient and long lasting

In addition to supporting sustainability through the manufacturing process, metal roofs provide many forms of weathertight protection and are built to last. Resistant to cracking, shrinking, warping, and deterioration from the elements, metal roofing systems maintain their visual appeal decades after installation. They can also withstand damage from hurricane-force winds, fire, water absorption and UV exposure.

While metal roofs’ resilience is a selling point for project owners, it also contributes to sustainability targets. Due to their enhanced durability, metal roofs often need less repair over the course of their lifespan, reducing the impact of manufacturing and transportation and, saving a significant amount of energy that would otherwise be consumed to make, distribute and install roofing components.

3. Cool roofs improve energy efficiency

When finished with certain colors, metal roofs can help buildings use less energy over the course of their lifespan through cool roof ratings. In general, cool roofs reflect more sunlight and absorb less solar heat, quickly shedding the little heat that is absorbed. This means they stay cooler during the day, tempering heat transfer to the spaces below. Consequently, cool roofs reduce the load on air conditioning systems, reducing energy consumption and helping maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. A majority of Drexel Metals’ fade-resistant color options can reflect and re-emit solar radiation by up to 90 percent. This means that architects and building owners can use them as cool roofs to meet sustainable construction objectives while also achieving their desired design aesthetic. 

Prioritizing sustainability overhead

Strong and resilient to weathering, metal roofs provide a lasting solution for architects and building professionals looking to create aesthetically beautiful, energy-efficient roofs. They can also be manufactured and shipped consciously to further reduce the embodied carbon a project represents. In these ways, select metal roof systems can also contribute to earning LEED® and SITES™ credits—all without limiting a designer’s intent.

Learn more about Drexel Metals’ high-quality roofing systems and take one step toward sustainability.