- Home Improvement
The Best Roofing Materials for Off-Grid Homes!
The Best Off-Grid Roofing System!
When I started to research off-grid roofs I really had no idea which roofs were better than any other. I assumed that solar paneled roofs were probably the best as whenever I did any research on off-grid roofs that was automatically the first kind that showed up. Then there were other kinds of roofing systems like living roofs and thatched roofs that had to be considered. But, what I discovered was that the best roofing systems for off-grid homes were in fact cheap metal roofs!
There are really only 4 kinds of off grid roofing systems, they are:
Solar Paneled Roofs
Solar Paneled Roofs: As popular as these are becoming my research has led me to believe that unless you can build your own solar panels or the price comes way down the expense is not worth the electricity. I have often wondered why solar panels are so expensive. Well the reason is that solar panels are made with silicon and silicon is made from crystals that must be grown very slowly. This process contributes to the expense of the solar cells and it doesn't look like the price will be coming down anytime soon so unless you have a lot of money I really wouldn't recommend solar paneled roofs.
Living Roofs: Living roofs also known as green roofs are roofs that have plant vegetation growing on them. Some can be grasses, some can be native plants. These roofs are popular with the cob cottage crowd. So I also thought that these would be pretty good roofs for off-grid living. But, my research has shown me that living roofs are not the best. Yes they are cheap and relatively easy to put up, however, they absorb all of your water, are very heavy so much so that many structures cannot support them and do not really do anything for you. They don't give you heat or electricity, they can require additional watering, and they don't contribute in anyway except to provide additional oxygen for your surroundings but if you are living off the grid chances are there are lots of plants already around you. And, if there is one thing that is important when living off grid it's making use of everything that you have. So, living roofs are cheap, (unless they leak, which many do), they are easy but they don't contribute in any way shape or form and furthermore they hoard the rainwater that falls on them. So, once again I would pass on living roofs.
Thatched Roofs: Thatched roofs are by far the most beautiful of all roofing (at least in my opinion). If you've ever dreamt of a cottage in the woods chances are your dream included a thatched roof. Thatched roofs have been around for a very long time and are renewable since they are made from straw. And, if you can find the material and do it yourself, the cheapest. However, thatched roofs also do not provide for any of your needs off grid. You cannot catch water from a thatched roof. While they are renewable they can harbor rodents and since virtually no one knows how to build or maintain them in the “Colonies” they will have to remain in the realm of dreams for now. Too bad I think they are so cute.
Metal Roofs: Well here is the last place I would have thought I would have landed when looking for the best off-grid roofing system. But cheap metal roofs either tin or galvanized steel win the award and take the cake for the best off-grid roofs ever. Not only are they super duper cheap but they can last for about 60 years. They are completely fireproof. If you were to put them on top of a cob cottage your whole house would be fireproof! Snow slides off so you don't have to worry about the weight of snow and they are lightweight making them easy to install. Moreover they are THE best roofs for collecting rainwater in a rainwater catchment system because there are no chemicals, tar or dirt attaching to the rainwater as it comes down off the roof.
So there you have it, cheap metal roofs are the best off-grid roofing systems hands down...now you know!
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