Three Things to Know About Energy Efficient Roofing

Creating an energy efficient roof will save you money and energy. Here are a few things you need to know to ensure your roof is energy efficient.

laying special tile shingles on a roof | Construction Pro TipsShutterstock / U.J. Alexander

The roof is one of the biggest fixtures of a home. It is there to protect you from the elements and ensure that your home remains insulated and maintains a comfortable temperature. However, not all roofs are created equal, and some roofs do a better job of keeping your home energy efficient.

Creating an energy efficient roof will save you money and energy. Here are a few things you need to know to ensure your roof is energy efficient.

Roof Color Matters

It is common knowledge that dark colors absorb heat while light colors reflect heat. Your roof is not an exception to this rule. The color of your roof is one of the most important factors in maintaining energy efficiency. The right color roof will save you money on your energy bills while also saving you money on future maintenance. In my experience, having the proper color roof for the region you live in can get you up to five more years of life out of a 20-year shingle.

The proper color of your roof is entirely dependent upon where you live. A homeowner in the desert southwest is going to want a lightly colored roof. A white or light brown color will do a better job of reflecting the energy of the sun, keeping your house cooler during the hottest desert months.

However, if you are living in some of the more frigid environments in the Midwest, you are going to want a dark color roof that will absorb as much of that sunlight as possible. This will keep your home warm during a tough winter.

Energy efficiency means different things in different regions, so what works in the Southwest could be the exact opposite of what works in the Northeast.

Material Matters

The right color roof is important, but a light roof made from the wrong materials is not going to outperform a dark roof made with the right material (and vice versa.)

The most common types of Energy Star labeled roofs are made of asphalt shingles, shake shingles, metal roofing, slate roofing or tile roofing.

Shake shingles hold up better than asphalt shingles and allow better air circulation in your home. However, they are hard to maintain in wet environments due to factors like mildew and wood rot.

Asphalt shingles are low maintenance and energy efficient, but they can be easily damaged in high wind and stormy areas.

Metal roofing is friendly to your wallet, lightweight and durable. It also is very reflective, making it energy efficient in sunny environments. However, it can be easily damaged and can be harder to replace smaller sections of the roof.

Slate roofing is a long lasting and energy efficient form of roofing; however, it is difficult to install, with many roofing contractors not qualified to install it.

Tile roofing is also an energy efficient roofing system; however, it is best for homeowners in warm desert climates due to tile’s ability to withstand the heat and moisture and reflect sunlight.

Ventilation is key

There are not many places that can get hotter than an attic. During the summer in states like Arizona, an attic can reach temperatures of up to 150 degrees. The harder your AC has to work to cool down your house, the more energy you are going to waste. This means that ventilation is key to an energy efficient roof.

An energy efficient roof needs cool outside air to enter your home via intakes and needs hot air to leave the attic via exhausts.

Hot air from your attic will eventually rise and leave your attic, but the amount of air circulation may not be enough to cool your house. To create an energy efficient roof, I would recommend installing turbine fans on your roof to actively push the hot air out.

You can even install a solar fan onto your roof; however, I would not recommend this in cloudy climates.

Once you you have factored in these three aspects of energy efficient roofing, you are well on your way to saving money and energy.

Here are five things you should know before hiring a roofing contractor. 

About the author:

Pat Overson is the owner of Overson Roofing in Mesa Arizona. His company is the 2016 winner of the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Ethics.  

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