It’s every homeowners nightmare to wake up to the drip, drip, dripping of a leaky roof – especially with a rainy winter just around the corner. Eventually, every roof will require attention. Whether it’s a full replacement or a patch job, it’s a chance to invest in eco-friendly roofing options.

According to Bob Vila, asphalt shingles (the most common roofing material) can last up to 30 years. Eco-roofing technology has come a long way in the last few decades, making roof repair an opportunity to choose Earth-friendly products.

Non-shingle roofing options

Asphalt shingles combine petroleum-based asphalt, fiberglass, cementitious fillers and chemical coatings through industrial processes. Their production can be an environmental nightmare. Before you default to this option, consider these:

Finding the eco-friendliest asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far the most common roofing option and often required by neighborhood HOA’s. These products aren’t made from environmentally-friendly materials, but gain some semblance of Earth-friendliness when made from recycled materials and deflecting solar rays.

Energy Star is a symbol for products that meet energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In terms of roofing, Energy Star certifies products that reflect a certain amount of the sun’s rays, known as solar reflectance. This reflective property lowers surface temperature and decreases heat transfer to a building, thus decreasing the need for air conditioning and energy use. Below are the Energy Star standards for roofing materials:

  • Low slope roofs: Initial solar reflectance greater or equal to .65. Three-year solar refleactance greater or equal to .50
  • Steep sloop roofs: Initial solar reflectance greater or equal to .25. Three-year solar reflectance greater or equal to .15.
  • Low slope applies to surfaces with a slope of 2:12 inches or less. Steep slope applies to surfaces with a slope greater to 2:12 inches.

Most residential roofs are steep slope. This ratio, known as pitch, can be calculated at home from the ground. After five minutes with a tape measure and a little math, I calculated my roof’s pitch at 6 inches of rise per 12 inches of run, or 6:12.

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CCRC) tests roofing materials for their radiative performance, but does not necessarily certify or approve them. However, CCRC has a handy catalog of tested products that makes finding shingles that meet Energy Star standards easier.

Manufacturers with CCRC tested asphalt shingles

The following manufacturers have asphalt shingles that have met the Energy Star requirements for solar reflectance, but may or may not carry the Energy Star logo. They’ve also shown some degree of commitment to using recycled materials and other sustainable practices.

Note: White-colored shingles are not included below, but often have a high solar reflectance and are therefore a good option.

CertainTeed Corporation

Founded in 1904 as the General Roofing Manufacturing Company, CertainTeed has grown into a producer of asphalt shingles, vinyl siding and more. This manufacturer recycles nearly 90% of its roofing production waste into asphalt materials for road construction. It also recycles into its products more than 250,000 tons of slag, stone granules, corrugated mixed paper and sludge from landfills each year.

CertainTeed’s Landmark Solaris series shingles (depending on the color) have an initial solar reflectance as high as .41, the highest of any steep slope asphalt shingle on CCRC.

Malarkey Roofing Products

Based in Portland, Oregon and operating since 1956, Malarkey boasts sustainability certifications and recycled materials. Namely, it uses recycled polymers from car tires through CalRecycle, diverting spent tires from waste stream. Malarkey also reduced its natural gas consumption by more than 80% by installing a methane recovery pipeline from a nearby wastewater treatment facility in 1984. Find certified Malarkey contractors here.

Malarkey’s Windsor Ecoasis Scotchgard series has an initial solar reflectance as high as .29, depending on the color.


GAF claims its products protect more homes in North America than any other. The company sponsors a shingle recycling program and has an online transparency showroom that gives material health overviews for some of its products. GAF also has an ecoScorecard that lists the percentage of pre- and post-consumer recycled content of its products, along with the product’s environmental certifications.

GAF’s Timberline Cool Series shingles have an initial solar reflectance as high as .28, depending on the color, and are Energy Star certified. Check out this product’s ecoScorecard.

Once your roof is in good shape, install solar panels on top to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels!

Feature photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash.