By Christine Cooney, The House Designers Staff Writer
When selecting roofing materials for a new home, homeowners typically focus on the material, color and style and may overlook the energy efficiency factor. But choosing energy efficient or cool roofing will save you money on your cooling bills and conserves the energy used in your home.
According to the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) that savings can be anywhere from 7% to 15%. The CRRC is a non-profit organization that develops methods for evaluating and labeling energy efficient roofing. For additional savings they provide a list of statewide rebate programs at their website coolroofs.org.
If you’ve ever touched your roof on a warm, sunny day, you know how hot the surface can get. The more a roof is exposed to the sun and the darker its color, the hotter and less efficient it becomes.
Traditional roofing materials draw heat into the attic which depending on the quality and quantity of insulation may easily escape into the living spaces below. This can cause a higher demand on your air conditioning system. Energy efficient or 'cool' roofing materials help to minimize the amount of heat that transfers into your home.
With energy efficient roofing, the two main properties to look at are reflectance and thermal emittance. Simply put, reflectance is the ability of a material to reflect rather than absorb the sun's energy. Emittance is the material's ability to give off heat rather than retain it. When shopping for cool roofing materials, look for 'Solar Reflectance' details on the specification sheet and that the standards and ratings are clearly defined. And when choosing an ENERGY STAR® rated roofing product make sure that it’s a good fit for your specific geographical location.
To be qualified as an ENERGY STAR® roof, the material must meet the following minimum criteria:
These qualifications are for steep-pitch roofs or roofs that have a rise-to-run ratio greater than 2-in-12, which is the standard for most residential roof designs. Roofing applied to a lower pitch or flat roof must meet reflectance specifications of 0.65 and 0.50 for initial and maintenance values, respectively.
A key benefit to using ENERGY STAR® qualified roofing products is that it can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15%. As a result, the homeowner should be able to purchase a smaller, more efficient and affordable cooling system.
You can download a detailed spreadsheet of ENERGY STAR® qualified roofing products on their website, which includes the manufacturer, brand, model number and solar ratings.
Energy efficient roofing is available in metal, tile (concrete, ceramic and composite) and asphalt shingles and come in a surprisingly wide range of colors.
How beneficial cool roofing is to your home depends greatly on your geographical location and the type of winters you have. Homes in hot and sunny climates like Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Georgia that use more air conditioning will see greater reductions in their energy bills than people living elsewhere in the country.
Calculate the duration of winter temps/snowfall amounts and average the amount of sunny versus cloudy days to determine if you live in a climate that has more heating than cooling needs. This will help you choose the right roofing material for your new home. If you need assistance in selecting your roofing material, companies like DaVinci® offer homeowner support to assist in product selection, color section, project timing and contractor selection.
Your roofing material is one of the most important considerations when selecting products for your new home. Do your homework and select the right roofing product that fits your style, budget and geographical location.