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Polymer Roofs Help Keep Homes and Yards Green

by Kathy Ziprik, Staff Writer

Before you select the next roof for your home project, consider what the roof can actually "do" for your clients. The selection of an impact- and fire-resistant polymer roof can help safeguard their home and have other unique benefits for the environment.

"Rainwater sliding off a polymer, metal, ceramic or real slate sloping roof into collection barrels is safe for secondary uses like garden irrigation," says Tim Gentry, vice president of technical services at DaVinci Roofscapes. "Roofs like these do not tend to leach chemicals or pollution into the water. This makes water harvesting an easy, positive way to help the environment."

Absolute Green Home

Being green can look gorgeous, too! The Absolute Green Home in South Salem, N.Y., has a number of eco-friendly features, including a Bellaforté Slate roof that aids in rainwater collection.

Along with helping save on water bills, rainwater collection is good for the environment. It can help reduce demands on shrinking ground water supplies.

"Whether collected in barrels or through pipes going directly into cisterns for use and storage, gathered rainwater can make a big impact," says Gentry. "According to, for every inch of rain that falls on a 'catchment area' of 1,000 square feet, approximately 600 gallons of rainwater can be collected. That's quite a strong contribution to the water supply for a homeowner."

At the Absolute Green Home in South Salem, N.Y. (which won the "Best Renovation of the Year Award" in 2015 from Green Builder® Media), project architect and coordinator Sylvain Coté designed the home with rainwater collection in mind. Four collection barrels dangle from key roof slopes on the home. Each barrel encourages water to slide gently into it from the Bellaforté Slate polymer roof overhead via a chain. Once filled, the unfiltered water in the barrels can be used for exterior watering of plants and gardens.

DaVinci Roofscapes Bellaforte Slate

The front of the Absolute Green Home unobtrusively shows off the chain and barrel water collection system. Notice the drum at the corner of the garage—now try to find the others visible in the first photo!

This rainwater collection system was just one of many strategies that Sylvain incorporated into the home. Starting from the top down with a composite slate roof, the 1932 beach home has earned three green designations: ENERGY STAR® Certified Home, LEED Platinum Certified Home and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Certified Home.

“I used DaVinci roofing products on my own home and knew they’d be a perfect match for this retrofit project since they’re a very realistic-looking material and have a solid thickness to each tile,” says Coté. “Having this polymer roof makes it possible for the homeowner to collect rainwater runoff from the roof that drops down the gutters and chains into rain collection barrels. Since there are no asphalt particles or oil-based runoff from the tiles, the rainwater is the highest quality and better suited for landscaping applications.”

The Bellaforté Slate roofing tiles used by Coté on the beach house replicate natural slate roofing and are available in 12-inch tile widths. Both Bellaforté Slate and Shake tiles feature patented self-aligning features, including the leading edge tab, aligning ledge and product design, which all help reduce installation time. A square of Bellaforté tiles (with 100 pieces per square) weighs just 190 pounds. This lower tile weight also helps reduce installation time and transportation costs. All DaVinci non-porous roofing tiles resist curling, cracking and fading, mold, algae, fungus and insects under normal conditions.

Absolute Green Home Rain Barrel

A close-up of the chain and barrel water collection system more clearly shows how rain can travel down the roof, roll into the gutters, and then drain down into the barrel. Homeowners can use this naturally sourced water for landscaping purposes without adding to their bills or to the strain on ground water reserves.