If you are looking for greener ways to update your home, you may start with your roof. Traditionally, roofing materials and designs are not sustainable and even increase our buildings' cooling costs. Let's take a look at five of the best green roofing materials and what differentiates them from the traditional roofing materials.

1. Tile
One great material for a greener roof is tile. Tiles are excellent roofing materials because of their longevity and their abilities to be recycled. Clay tiles are made from sustainable materials, and they reflect a lot of the sun's energy back to the atmosphere. A light colored tile roof can help to keep your home cool in the warmest of climates.

2. Metal
Installing a metal roof may seem counter-intuitive when you are trying to reduce the amount of heat that your home absorbs on hot summer days, but metal roofing materials have come a long way. Metal roofing materials are coated and painted a light color to allow for a cool roof. These roofs have the added benefit of being able to be installed over existing roofs. You can typically recycle these roofing materials, too.

3. Roof Pavers
A paver is a type of paving tile that has been designed for roofing. They are over two inches thick, and they reflect a majority of ultraviolet light. Roof pavers are very heavy, but this adds excellent insulating benefits to a building that has been designed to support that heavy of a load on the roof.

4. Coatings
Applying a coating to your existing roof can provide tremendous benefits when it comes to keeping your home cool. The coatings are typically bright white, or they contain reflective pigments that reflect the infrared light that heats up our buildings. Coatings are particularly green because they do not require you to purchase entirely new roofing materials or to dispose of your old roofing materials. You can use what you already have and make it better.

5. Living Roof
The greenest roof is a living roof. A true green roof is a roof that utilizes living plants to provide natural insulation and to absorb storm water. These roofs also improve air quality and can improve the region's microclimate by reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect. Your building will need to be able to handle a heavy load on its roof, and it will require regular maintenance.

These systems can be complicated, so there is even a group of professionals, called Green Roof Professionals, who are trained in designing and installing green roofs. You should consult a professional if you are considering going all out when it comes to sustainability and installing a green roof.

There are many options when it comes to green roofing materials. You should speak with a roofing professional with a background in sustainable practices to help you determine the best option for your home and for your wallet.