Environmentally conscious people are embracing metal roofing as a green alternative to asphalt shingles. Once the standard material for roofing, metal is experiencing a rebirth as a responsible way to save money. Although a metal roof is more expensive to install than asphalt, there are long term benefits – homeowners can realize long term savings and increased security, while eliminating the waste they contribute to landfills from worn-out shingles. It is estimated that re-roofing generates 6.8 billion tons of asphalt waste each year. Since it is difficult to recycle asphalt, this material generally ends up in a landfill, as opposed to metal, which is widely recycled. Many people remember seeing metal roofs on old houses. There is a reason for this. Metal roofs frequently outlive their owners who buy them. Asphalt roofs only last an average of 17 years, while most metal roofs can last over 50 years if correctly installed. Metal roofing is spark and fireproof, hail resistant and can withstand winds up to 110 mph. For these reasons many insurance companies offer discounts for homes with metal roofs. Metal roofs are extremely durable and require minimal maintenance. In winter, when asphalt roofs can fail due to accumulated snow weight, metal roofs generally allow snow to slide off, even on low pitched roofs. Although metal roofs have an initial expense that is about double that of asphalt roofs, they are actually cheaper in the long run. An asphalt roof that lasts an average of 17 years will be replaced at least twice before the end of a normal life of metal. In addition to the replacement cost savings, metal roofs can save on the heating and cooling bill. Metal roofs can cut heat and cooling costs by 25% or more. Manufacturer’s of metal roofing materials, such as Central States Mfg. & Fabral, have developed Energy Star ratings on their reflective paint systems. The Energy Star program is an EPA program that is promoting highly reflective roofs. The theory is roofs that reflect most of the solar energy will stay cooler and require less electricity for air conditioning. This, in turn, reduced the amount of electricity that must be produced, which reduces the amount of pollutants discharged into the air at the power plants. This is good for the environment and that’s why the EPA is pushing it.