Not long ago I wrote a blog about my own experience trying to find eco-friendly roofing material for the Greenspiration Home. As you may recall, I came up pretty empty-handed. What I found was that most alternative roofing materials, such as those that contain a high recycled content, are about 3 to 4 times the installed cost of asphalt shingles. That’s a hard sell for anyone, no matter how green you want to be. At this year’s Greenbuild show, however, I ran across a company that gives me reason to be optimistic again.
G.E.M. Inc. is the Canadian manufacturer of Euroshield™ recycled rubber roofing products. The Euroshield brand includes several different lines of recycled rubber roofing, but the one that interested me the most at this year’s Greenbuild Expo was their new EuroLite Slate product. Why? Because the installed cost of this material, which comes with a transferable limited lifetime warranty (non-prorated for the first 50 years) is actually comparable to the installed cost of premium asphalt shingles. This is unprecedented as far as eco-friendly roofing goes.
How green is it? Well, pretty green as far as this green savvy homeowner goes. It is made up of 75% recycled material from car tires – so it’s saving landfill space. And the shingles themselves are 100% recyclable.
It Installs Faster, So It Costs Less
The main reason that this product is more affordable than other recycled roof options is that it installs quickly and easily. It goes down in 40” x 17” panels that handle and install similarly to asphalt shingles, with some special design perks that are supposed to make it even easier. Moral of the story is that this isn’t a difficult roof to install and if your contractor is inflating the cost beyond what he would charge to install asphalt, then you may want to press him a bit on why.
Plus, it looks good. Even up close it looks like slate, although it is much lighter. From street level I imagine you’d have a real tough time telling the difference between it and genuine slate. The shingle is available in grey, black and brown.
The Shipping Costs Might Get You
So what’s the downside? Hmm. The downside is that the product is made in Canada with limited distributorship in the US. They will ship product for a single-family home, but that could get mighty expensive. Hopefully the company will secure more distributors in the US soon, because judging from what I see of consumer searches for roofing material (yes I study this stuff) there is a healthy demand for eco-roofing.
What About Fading?
Roof shingles made of recycled rubber have been known to fade in some very uneven and unattractive ways. This product, however, is colored throughout so while fading will occur as with virtually any exterior product, it should fade evenly and not impact the overall aesthetics.
I personally would not be afraid to use this product—although I would ask the manufacturer for some homeowner references. Just know that if you want to see an installation you may have to travel a few hundred (or thousand) miles.