Certainly research cool roof technology and I'd recommend you stick with composition shingles since they are low cost and very durable.
However, replacing a roof also provides a great opportunity for some critical upgrade projects that will improve the comfort, health, and efficiency of your home.
Insulate and air seal
When removing the roof, you have the opportunity to easily air seal your attic space and even more easily add blown cellulose insulation on your attic floor.
These are the most critical "home performance" projects for most homes and should be performed by a BPI Accredited Contractor (www.bpi.org).
Replace the sheathing?
Also, if you are removing the existing sheathing (the wood that the shingles are covering), then you have the opportunity to do something really cool.
There are products now that exist as a three layer sandwich that combine a:
- radiant barrier,
- rigid foam board, and
- OSB sheathing.
This is typically referred to as OSB faced rigid board. The radiant barrier will keep your house cooler, the foam board is additional insulation, and the OSB sheathing is what the new shingles will cover.
First step: talk to an energy auditor
Again, as I always say, I cannot stress enough the importance of having an experienced BPI Accredited Contractor take a good look at your home and provide direct recommendations.
As a side note, shingles may not come from the most sustainable sources, but they are very durable and somewhat recyclable. Thus, by some stretch of the imagination, they could be considered a relatively green product.
For more information:
Read our tips article "Three Ways to Make Your Roof More Energy Efficient" for more tips.