A building is a system made up of subsystems, and the roof is the most important subsystem of any building. Metal roofs are 100% recyclable; most are made with at least 50% recycled steel. The same is true for all the metals used in roofing. Metal roofing does not end up in the landfill. Metal roofs preserve the embodied energy of all the building materials in a building. Because of the reflectivity metal roofing is thought to help prevent global warming through energy savings within the building.
Metal roofs are the Cadillac of the roofing world. The sky is the limit on creativity and materials: stainless steel, copper, zinc, titanium, terne, colored stainless steel as well as painted steel are just some of the materials available. Metal roofing comes in the form of shingles of every shape and pans of every width and texture. The Romans used metal roofing on their buildings; metal roofing is a European tradition where century old techniques are still practiced today by the "Spengler or Klemper".
Hail, wind, fire, sun, snow and ice dams are severe conditions that must be planned for. When building in the high country or in the forest, metal roofing is the roof of choice because of wild fire and ice dams.
Metal roofs are tough. The metal roof industries recognize the life span of an average steel metal roof as 60 years. European authorities give 200 years as an average life span of a copper roof. These are average life spans for existing roofs. I feel a metal roof installed with great craftsmanship will last twice as long as this average.
These roofs cost 2.5 to 4 times what an asphalt roof costs. However, the cost per square foot per year may be only one fourth the cost of an asphalt roof. And federal and state tax refunds may be available because of the possible energy savings.
Erno Ovari of Copper Exclusive should be credited for his efforts to bring European craftsmanship to North America. Craftsmanship and knowledge are the keys to an environmentally friendly metal roof. You can buy metal from countless manufactures, but to have a metal roof or wall system properly installed in North America you are going to have to carefully educate yourself.
Here are some links to further information:
The author of this article, Doug Green, has 30 years of experience doing top quality work in extreme mountain climates that have caused most other roofing systems to leak. You can contact him by email: douggreenbuilderATgmail.com.