In a separate post this month on the Professional Roofers blog, we discussed the history of asphalt shingles, why installation is so important and what kind of life-span to expect if you live in the volatile climate of Toronto, Canada. As we established, shingles are just about as traditional as you can get when it comes to roofing. In this post, swinging to the other side of the spectrum, we're going to take a quick look at something that has been making headlines the past few months: the solar shingles that Elon Musk's company – Tesla – have been developing in co-operation with Solar City (a company they recently acquired).
We like to think of ourselves as a classic, no fuss Toronto roofing company with strong family values. Mostly we stick to what we know: flat roofs made from membranes and pitched roofs composed of shingles. However, as this strange world continues catapulting into the future at an alarming rate, we would be remiss not to discuss important developments that may define the roofing industry in the coming century – much in the same way that asphalt tiles redefined the past one.
First thing's first though: while the idea of solar shingles may be extremely appealing, you'll no doubt be wondering how much these things are going to cost. Not everyone can afford a Tesla electric car, and not everyone will have a budget for this new, cutting-edge roofing product. The solar shingles, which are expected to begin shipping next summer, will cost a good deal more than your industry standard asphalt shingles. Tesla will surely argue that over time, home-owners will save money on electricity bills and roof repairs (the solar roofs allegedly last twice as long as asphalt shingles), but of course not all home owners have the up front money to facilitate the change to solar.
Furthermore, here in Canada, where the sun is much less reliable than in California, you may not end up saving as much as you would hope. You can see by browsing through testimonials from past clients that our rates are very reasonable, so even if your asphalt shingle roof needs repairs once in awhile, it's not as though it will cost a fortune to maintain.
Paying for solar can be described as paying for the luxury of knowing that you're contributing to a greener world and using less power. At the same time, however, it's worth looking at the impact of asphalt tiles on the environment and assessing whether or not they have a negative impact. Unfortunately, despite the fact that there are many ways to recycle retired shingles, most damaged roofing materials do end up in land-fills. When roofing companies do recycle, then shingles can be used for hot mix asphalt, cold asphalt patching and fuel for cement kilns. There is some concern that asphalt shingles manufactured before the year 1980 contain asbestos and could put recycling workers in jeopardy, but when due diligence is practiced, there are a lot of great uses for an old, damaged roof.
So if you're happy with your classic roof, don't feel bad, just try and make sure the materials don't end up in a landfill. If you are curious about these solar shingles, there are a myriad of news stories online covering the developments. Being roofing nerds ourselves, we were interested to read that the solar shingles will be crafted of tempered glass and mimic slate roofs and terra cotta. They could also weigh five times less than a traditional shingle.
While it's certainly exciting to contemplate the future that lies ahead, make sure you don't forget about your current roof – take advantage of our expert roof repair services when you find yourself in need!