Environmentally-friendly materials: the right and affordable choice


toiture maison ecologiqueThe roof is one of the elements of the home that has the largest ecological footprint. Sustainability, origin of materials, manufacturing processes, maintenance and end of life use are all factors to be taken into account for a greener choice. There are many alternatives to asphalt shingles, which are derived from petroleum hydrocarbons, are known pollutants and have a limited lifespan (despite the promises of manufacturers).


 ProsConsLifespanCost (including installation)
Cedar Shingles Their resistance to humidity and wind, their authentic look and their low grey energy They need a lot of maintenance and hail can damage a cedar roof 25 to 50 years to $25 per sq. ft. $96

to $260 per sq. meter
Metal Requires low maintenance and at the end of its lifespan it is 100% recyclable Has a very high-grey energy More than 50 years $4 to $15 per sq. ft.

$43 to $161 per sq. meter
Composite Roofing Material Highly resistant and requires low maintenance The best choices are those made from recycled materials, such as used tires 50 years From $8 per sq. ft.

From $86 per sq. meter
EPDM and TPO Roofing Membranes They are highly resistant, excellent performance on flat roofs or on green roofs. In white, they contribute to reducing the heat island effect They are derived from non-renewable sources 30 years From $8 per sq. ft.

From $86 per sq. meter
Thatched Very small ecological footprint They are uncommon in Quebec and their installation requires a rare expertise that is in scarce supply 50 years $35 to $40 per sq. ft.

$377 to $430 per sq. meter


A green roof system blocks UV rays, provides a good acoustic and thermal insulation, promotes the absorption of rainwater and reduces the heat island effect. Its cost: between $10 and $30 per square foot ($108 and $323 per square meter). Depending on your living arrangement, rural or urban, you can opt for one of the roofs mentioned below:

  • Extensive Green Roof without garden
    • Pros: natural look, low maintenance, ease of installation and lightweight, which avoids the need to strengthen the structure (ideal in rural setting)
    • Cons: does not allow for a vegetable garden and cannot be used as a terrace
  • Intensive green roof with garden or terrace
    • Pros: its space allows for a great variety of plants, and its use, which can be compared to that of a ground-level garden but without bugs (adapted to the urban setting)
    • Cons: requires a good irrigation system, demands a lot of maintenance, requires structural reinforcement of the roof to support the added weight

In decreasing the heat loss by almost three times that of a conventional roof, a green roof allows for a reduction in the requirements of heating and air conditioning. Likewise, by blocking UV rays, a prolonged lifespan of the roof is ensured. Since it absorbs rainwater, the green roof even allows for the reduction of storm water runoff and subsequent infiltration into the soil. Finally, by trapping airborne particulates and by regulating the thermal motion of air, the green roof constitutes an installation that is completely green.