by Rachel Lyon, The House Designers’ Assistant Editorial Director
They don’t use any electricity and aren’t in view when they’re working for you, but roofs contribute to your household's energy efficiency. What hangs over your head is important for your own comfort and safety, but it can also have a large impact on the environment as a whole. As you shop for your next roof, here are some things to keep in mind so you can maximize your home’s energy efficiency and make environmentally conscious choices.
Seal the Envelope
In a region with wide-ranging temperature variations, keeping warm in winter and cool in summer is a serious undertaking. An improperly insulated roof can be one of the most inefficient parts of your entire home. You want to close off the ways that air can move in and out of the house, because allowing your furnace and air conditioner to run nonstop is a terrible drain on resources that can be avoided.
Your home’s envelope is what separates the interior from the exterior—the foundation, walls, roof, etc.—and it plays a large role in efficiency. Leaking air works against you in all seasons. Go into your attic to see just how different the temperature is to determine if you need more insulation under your roof. Plenty of houses have uninsulated attics that account for a large amount of energy loss, and putting in a layer of insulation can make all the difference. Seal the envelope of your home by defining what is inside and what is outside, and you’ll see the savings in your bills. Just remember that you also need to have vents in the attic to allow hot air to flow out of your home freely and prevent moisture accumulation.
Keep It Cool
Try walking on a roof in the summer and you’ll realize just how dangerously hot it can get. This heat is more than just a personal hazard, though, because it also causes your air conditioning to work harder and creates what is called the heat island effect in highly populated areas. The temperature of a highly developed, urban area can be several degrees higher than its rural surroundings due to the heat of so many rooftops in close quarters. A traditional roof not only increases your energy bills, but it also affects your environment.
So, what can you do? Start by looking for a cool roof. A cool roof is designed to reflect sunlight away rather than absorb it, which helps to reduce the temperature of your house and keep the internal temperature lower. Without this extra heat, your need for air conditioning will decrease.
Find a company that really focuses on eco-friendliness and producing cool roofs. DaVinci Roofscapes is Cool Roof Rating Council rated and their EcoBlend® tiles are an ENERGY STAR® Qualified Product, so you can be sure that they’ll increase the energy efficiency of your home. There are plenty of colors to choose from, available as single- and multi-width shake and slate tiles, so you can create a roof that fits your home’s design perfectly. Whether you prefer the look of authentic wood shakes or hand-crafted slates, DaVinci Roofscapes has you covered.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The production of new roofing materials and the removal of old ones is a large operation that can be unsustainable and wasteful if measures aren’t taken to avoid it. Roofs take a beating from the sun and inclement weather, and although they are meant to last decades, they need to be replaced periodically. Consider the number of homes in the world and it becomes apparent that unsustainable practices will have an enormous impact on the environment.
That’s why DaVinci Roofscapes takes sustainability seriously from all sides. Any product that fails to meet strict quality controls is recycled back into the process to make starter tiles, and every product that goes out can be sent back to the factory at the end of its life cycle to be made into something new.
Natural shakes and slates take a toll on the environment. Trees have to be harvested and slate has to be quarried, both of which are environmentally costly endeavors. Shipping these heavy materials becomes another burden on the economy, and anything broken in transport is unusable. Factory-made products from DaVinci help reduce the need for these natural resources and are also lighter, making them less expensive to ship.
If you want to install an American-made roof that is energy efficient from every angle, DaVinci Roofscapes has the perfect solution for you. Take a look at their products and then discuss your needs with their contacts and trusted contractors to get started.