Can a new roof help you save energy? Will a new roof reduce your energy costs? The short answer is: yes! Installing a new roof will make your home more energy-efficient and help you cut down on your monthly energy bills. Older roofs, on the other hand, are built using outdated roofing materials and building technology. That means older roofs are less energy-efficient and put a greater strain on your heating and cooling system, leading to higher energy bills.
How Does Your Roof Affect Energy Costs?
High energy expenses come from a variety of places in your home: drafty doors, loose windows, improperly insulated basements, and a roof that’s outdated and in dire need of replacement. As your roof ages, it breaks down and becomes less effective at its job in a number of ways. Temperatures and humidity levels from the outdoors begin to seep in and affect your home’s internal environment.
As a homeowner considering a new roof, it’s important to take into consideration what makes a roof energy efficient. After all, a replacement roof is bound to save some energy, but the amount you save may not be worth the price of a roof replacement.
How a Roof Can Cut Your Energy Costs
There are a few key things to keep in mind when trying to determine if a new roof will help you save energy costs. It’s not as easy as just installing any old roof. Roof energy efficiency varies quite a bit depending on what material they are built with it and how they are installed.
Here are some important roof characteristics to consider when installing a new energy-efficient roof:
Solar Reflection: The more effectively your roof reflects solar light, the more energy-efficient it is. If your roof isn’t able to reflect sunlight away from your home, the shingles then absorb the solar heat and transfer it into your home. Roofs with high solar reflection can lower the surface temperature by as much as 30%.
Roof Ventilation: Roofs are built with ventilation to allow proper airflow between the attic and the great outdoors. If a roof isn’t properly ventilated, hot air can become trapped inside the attic and cause your entire house to heat up gradually like an oven. This puts a huge strain on your home’s cooling system and leads to a noticeable rise in your monthly energy bills. Ensuring the roof is properly ventilated will reduce your home’s energy needs and lower its reliance on the air conditioner.
Energy Star Rating: Energy Star is the authority on what building materials and consumer products are considered energy-efficient. When you see the energy star label, you can feel confident that that product will help you save more energy than non-Energy Star products. Roofs built using Energy Star shingles are better at reflecting solar energy back into the atmosphere instead of absorbing it and transferring it into your home. In fact, Energy Star shingles can lower the surface temperature of your roof by up to 100 degrees – that’s a huge difference! Cooler roofs are able to naturally keep your home cool so you don’t have to rely as much on an air conditioner.
Shingle Color: Most people know that dark clothing absorbs heat on a sunny day, but did you know that dark shingles can do the same thing? That means the color of your roof should vary depending on where you live and your local climate. Homes in cold-weather areas benefit from dark shingles, while homes in hot climates should have lighter roof colors to help deflect sunlight. Paying close attention to the shingle color you add to your home will have an impact on your energy costs.
Modernized Shingles: When we think of outdated technology, we probably conjure up images of flip-phones and CRT computer monitors. However, shingles and roofing materials have also undergone immense technological improvements in the past several decades. That means old roofing material isn’t as effective or energy-efficient as newer materials. Old shingles have lower shingle ratings than their newer counterparts, which means they’re not as effective at keeping out the wind. Newer shingles, on the other hand, can prevent winds up to 130 MPH, which keeps even the strongest winds out of your home and reduces your energy costs.
Choosing the Right Roof
Picking out the right roof for your home’s energy efficiency needs requires careful research and planning. It’s important to take certain factors into consideration, like your home’s location, your budget, and roofing material options. While the local roofing company you choose to work with will be able to advise you on the best options for your needs, it’s still a good idea to think about your options ahead of time.
Where is your home located?
The first thing to consider is your home’s location. Certain roofs are better suited for warm-weather climates, while others are ideal for colder areas. Dark shingles and shingles made of heat-absorbing materials are perfect for homes in cooler climates. Since they’re better at transferring heat into your home, your AC won’t have to work as hard, and you’ll save money on cooling bills. The opposite is true for warm-weather areas. Your best bet in terms of saving money is light-colored shingles and materials that deflect sunlight back into the atmosphere.
What kind of shingles will you use?
The second major factor is the type of shingle you choose to replace your old roof with. Shingles come in a wide variety of different materials, colors, and styles.
A few of the most popular shingle options include:
- Wood shake
- Clay tile
- Slate tile
- Solar shingles
- Composite plastic
- Rubber roofing
Different roofing materials have different energy-efficiency properties. Depending on your local climate and your home improvement budget, certain shingle options may make more sense for your roofing project than others.
Some of the most energy-efficient roofing options are clay tile roofs and concrete roofs. These materials are known for their ability to absorb and retain solar energy, so they’ll keep your home warm and insulated long after the sun goes down. When properly installed, they’re also air-tight and resistant against developing air leaks and drafts.
Not only does this make your home’s internal climate more comfortable and easier to manage, but it also lowers your energy bills. Keep in mind that concrete roofs and clay tile roofs have a higher up-front sticker price than cheaper alternatives like asphalt, but that they will pay for themselves in the long-run in terms of energy savings.
At the cutting-edge of energy-efficiency roofing technology are shingles that produce their own energy. These are solar roofs that use small solar panels in lieu of shingles made from traditional materials like asphalt or metal. Using a type of solar technology called photovoltaic (PV) cells, solar roofs will significantly cut down on your home’s energy consumption.
Some homes even make money in the long-run by selling their excess solar energy back to the grid!
The worst roofing materials in terms of energy-efficiency are aluminum roofs and unpainted metal roofs. Metal is great at absorbing solar energy but not at releasing back into the atmosphere. Instead, it retains the energy and transfers it into your home. That’s why a car left out in the sun feels warm to touch even after it’s been moved into the shade. For energy-minded homeowners, roofs made of clay tile, concrete, or photovoltaic cells are your best options.
What roofing company will your hire?
Roofing material makes a huge impact on your home’s energy costs, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Choosing the right roofing company is just as important. If a roof isn’t installed properly, it will be more susceptible to drafts, temperature fluctuations, and humidity issues. It’s common for poorly installed roofs to have greatly reduced energy-efficiency.
Unfortunately, even a brand new roof can reduce your home’s efficiency and drive up your energy costs. A roofing company staffed by trained, experienced roofing experts is the best way to get a quality roof that saves you money. It’s also important that the roofing company is both licensed and warrantied.
Before you hire a roofing contractor, you may want to call ahead to make sure they have the energy-efficient shingles and roofing materials you’re looking for. Not all roofing companies carry products with the Energy Star Label. If Energy Star-rated shingles are on your wish-list, you’ll know to skip that company and move on to the next one.
Update Your Roof’s Energy Efficiency and Reduce Your Energy Bills
As you can see, installing a new roof has the potential to upgrade your home’s efficiency completely and greatly reduce the cost of energy. A new roof is built using the latest advances in construction technology, like roofing materials with high shingle ratings and ratings from Energy Star. New roofs also are not susceptible to the results of wear-and-tear that older roofs suffer from. Air leaks, drafts, improper ventilation, and attic insulation issues can all be solved with a replacement roof.
Contact a trusted local roofing company like Advanced Roofing to get started on your upcoming roofing project. We offer free inspections and price estimates for energy-efficient roofing solutions.