Copper as a sustainable roof for a heritage home extension.
Stone Farm, Oxford, was selected to be featured in Listed Heritage magazine’s in-depth exploration into roofing materials on graded buildings. Here we look into the reasons why copper can be an excellent roofing choice. The property had survived for hundreds of years relatively intact, and the owners wanted to sympathetically renovate the original footprint of the building whilst adding a modern twenty-first-century chapter to its history. They wanted an extension that reflected the building’s integrity, while capturing its spirit in a modern, sustainable form.
What are the sustainable benefits of a copper roof?
Copper is an elegant metal and has earned its respected place in architectural history, from medieval cathedrals to contemporary facades. One of its most interesting aspects is that, in its natural, untreated form, it develops a self-protecting patina, going through a natural chromatic weathering process, where it mellows within weeks to various shades of bronze and brown and, over the years, oxidation gives it its characteristic teal Verdigris patina – often referred to as antique copper.
Quality of materials means sustainability
While copper’s initial cost is generally higher than other metals, it is highly cost-effective over the lifespan of the building. Its water resistance enables lower roof pitches than standard other roof coverings, and being much lighter than other metal alternatives, it requires less structure and is a low-maintenance option, not requiring painting or cleaning. As water harvesting as a sustainable design increases in popularity, copper is a great choice, as it acts as an algaecide and fungicide, stunting the growth of lichen and moss, while having a balanced pH and mildly disinfects the rainwater. Copper roofing sheets are extremely versatile and long lasting, ensuring a lifespan of about 100 years or more, and it is also 100% recyclable, reducing its environmental impact.
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