If you're trying to make your home more environmentally friendly, why not focus on your roof? Surprisingly, roofing presents multiple opportunities for environmental improvement. Environmentally enhanced roofs can reduce a number of damaging problems, including pollutant gases in the atmosphere, your electricity usage, urban water run-off, carbon emissions and water usage. Here are just 3 ways to make your roof more friendly to planet Earth.

Vegetated Patches

One of the best ways to 'go green' is to bring the greenery to your rooftops. Vegetated roofing is roofing that is covered with foliage, planted in specially-engineered growing soil. You don't have to vegetate your entire roof to help the environment -- you can select your own 'patches' to cover. You can also install rain guards around these patches to collect rainwater for your vegetation. This reduces water usage and prevents chemical runoff from polluting the local landscape. The vegetation you grow will also reduce pollution and carbon emissions. Plants have the ability to dramatically improve outdoor air quality by removing pollutants from the air; studies have shown that urban vegetation reduces street level nitrogen dioxide pollution by as much as 40%.

Solar Light Pipes

If you're looking to help the environment by reducing your electricity usage, consider having solar light pipes installed in your roof. These cleverly designed skylights use reflectors to store and distribute light throughout your home. They use no electricity to light your house, and they allow you to keep your electricity-consuming artificial lights switched off more often. Solar light pipes are a better alternative to regular skylights because they're better insulated, reducing winter heat loss and environmentally unfriendly central heating use. If you're thinking of introducing solar energy into your home but you're not ready to splurge on solar panels, these pipes can be a more affordable transitional purchase.

Colorbond Roofing

Colorbond roofing is rapidly gaining popularity for it's aesthetic appeal, environmental friendliness and money saving abilities. This attractive coated steel roofing is thermally efficient, keeping your home cool without reflecting too much heat onto other nearby buildings. By cooling down your home, Colorbond will reduce how much you use your air conditioning. One AC unit can use up to 5000 watts of power per hour and emit 3.25 kilos of carbon dioxide in the same period. By reducing your air conditioning usage, Colorbond roofing will keep your electricity usage and carbon emissions lower. As it's made of metal, this roofing is also recyclable, further helping the environment.