Many homeowners don’t know that they can save their heating and cooling costs just from having a good roof on their home. The great news is that improving the energy efficiency of your roof doesn’t have to be expensive. Just making a few small improvements can create a big difference, not only for the energy usage of your home but also the cost of your energy bill.
1) Keep Your Roof Cool
Having a cooler roof requires using shingles that are lighter in color rather than traditional black asphalt or dark wood shingles. By using lighter shingles the home saves energy by reflecting light and heat away rather than absorbing them. The problem with dark roofs is the temperature outside could be 80 degrees, but your dark roof is conducting a much higher temperature down inside the home. This makes all the rooms in your home hotter and forces your air conditioner unit to work harder than it should be. This is known as the “albedo effect”. Studies have shown that just this one tip alone can decrease your energy bill significantly.
Another benefit of using lighter shingles is that your roof will be 50 to 60 degrees cooler than roofs that are dark-colored, thereby reducing the cooling load on your home. This is how you able to save energy and reduce your utility costs. The easiest way and cheapest way to cool your roof is to place lighter shingles on top of the existing shingles. If you have a flat-top roof place sheets of fiber-reinforced white PVC membranes on top of your black asphalt roofing material. Do a search on the internet for the Cool Roof Rating Council’s Rated Products Directory. This directory can provide you with all the performance data that you need about various roofing products. Roofing products are rated for how good that they reflect the outside elements. The higher the number, the more reflective the product is, which means a cooler roof.
2) Install or Replace the Insulation Under the Roof
Insulation is usually one of the first things people think of when they set about making their homes more energy-efficient. Per the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), the attic of the home is usually the top priority, because installing insulation is easy and provides immediate benefits. When insulating your attic, it is important to remember the roof. This means attaching insulation on the bottom surface of the roof. Your roof is your heating and cooling system’s biggest nightmare. A roof not properly insulated roof will require more use of the air conditioning in the summer and more use of the furnace in the winter. Having a well-insulated roof can almost negate the need to use either mechanical system and will drastically reduce your gas and electricity bill.
The material you choose to insulate your roof with depends heavily on what style of home you have and the weather climate of the area you live in. Homes that have open beams, typically found in homes with cathedral ceilings should also consider installing a radiant barrier. This is a simple reflective film that wraps around beams of the roof and reflects heat rather than absorbing it. No matter what kind of material you choose, do not leave air space between the insulation and the underneath roofing material. If you have a metal roof, it is not necessary because having air space will typically reduce the possibility of moisture getting trapped in either the structure or the insulation. Having moisture could cause mildew or mold to grow.
3) Build a Roof That Lasts
When you are putting a roof on a new home or replacing the roofing on an existing residence, this would be a good opportunity to build a roof that will sustain its energy efficiency. There are plenty of green roofing materials that are on the market that can help you do this. You want to have a roof that lasts a long time, improves your home’s energy efficiency and maintains your comfortability. Of course, the ideal roofing material will depend on where you live, but many experts agree that wood shingles are not going to do the job no matter where you live. This is because they wear out very quickly and could have you replacing your whole roof every 10-15 years.
The benefits of installing sustainable green roofing materials could result in as much as a 30 percent decrease in your energy costs. All our experts recommend that you use reflective coatings to make your roof cool. Make sure that the roofer you hire can advise you on the best roofing materials to use for your type of house and the local weather climate. However, it is a good idea to have a grasp of the basics before talking to a professional. For example, if you live anywhere near the coastal areas of the United States then you want to select roofing materials that will withstand the salt spray and have very high wind reflectiveness. Another tip is that if you are taking your roof down to the rafters, consider installing a sheathing with a radiant barrier. This is a laminated sheet of aluminum that will reflect heat into your home instead of absorbing it.
Having a home with roofing materials that are both green and energy efficient can help extend the life of your home. Following these few tips can help make your home comfortable and reduce the strain on your pocketbook as well.