The main function of your roofing system is to protect you and your family from extreme weather conditions. But did you know that your roof also helps conserve energy and holds down your utility bills? Your heating and cooling system may keep your indoors at the perfect temperature, but many homeowners are unaware that their roofs also play an important role when it comes to energy efficiency.
To learn more about how your roof can save energy, take the time to go through this article from De Palma Construction, a leading roofing company known for quality roof repair services. In this post, we will provide an insightful overview of the energy efficiency features of your roof.
What Makes Your Roof Energy-Efficient?
The materials of your roofing system should never be taken lightly. Take note that rooftop temperatures can get 90 to 100 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature. Thus, if your roof is built with dark, non-reflective materials, it easily absorbs heat and transfers it into your attic instead of reflecting it.
A good insulation system may offer relief, but it doesn’t prevent the heat transfer from occurring from your rooftop to the attic. When your attic is overheated, the excess heat will transfer into your home, making your air conditioning system work harder than it should. Not only will this cause issues with your HVAC system, but it can also significantly increase your bills. To stop this transference of heat, it’s important to consider the impact of the Solar Reflectance Index and ventilation.
The Solar Reflectance Index or SRI measures the ability of your residential roofing system to reject solar heat and release any heat that is absorbed. The higher the SRI number, the better your roof reflects solar light. Experts found that raising the SRI from 25 to 40 can lower the surface temperature of your roof by more than 13 degrees, which means a 15 to 20 percent savings on your bills. Homeowners in colder climates may not find solar reflectance important. However, if you live where summers are short, the energy savings can be a big deal.
Ventilation, on the other hand, prevents heat that’s transferred to the attic from building up. For instance, if the temperature outside is around 90 degrees, attic temperatures may go as high as 160 degrees. Without a proper ventilation system, the heat will transfer inside your home. If temperatures get extreme, not only will it impact your electric bills, but it can also damage your roof. Thus, be sure your roof is properly ventilated to reduce your home’s energy needs and lessen your dependence on your air conditioning system.
What Should You Consider When Choosing an Energy-Efficient Roof?
If you think your current residential roofing system doesn’t meet the energy-saving requirements, you may need to replace it with a more efficient one. When choosing a new roof, you need to take certain factors into consideration, such as your home’s location and roofing material options.
The first thing to think about is the location of your home. Certain roofs may be more appropriate for colder areas. In cooler climates, you may want to consider dark shingles made of heat-absorbing materials. They work best when transferring heat into your home, which can benefit your AC system and cooling bills. For warm-weather areas, roofing made of light-colored shingles and materials that deflect sunlight back into the atmosphere is a great choice.
Take a look at some of the popular energy-efficient roof choices:
Metal roofs. A popular choice for many properties, including commercial roofing, metal roofs can last more than 50 years and require little maintenance. While they already have a high SRI, you may want to cover them with special coatings for an even higher efficiency rating.
Tile roofs. They can be made from slate, clay, or concrete. For maximum heat reflectivity, these roofs can be pre-treated with coatings. They also allow air to flow under the tiles, which heightens their ability to release any heat they absorb.
Asphalt shingles. As one of the most non-reflective and heat-absorbent roofing options, this is the most common type of roofing material used on homes. These days, many manufacturers create new lines of asphalt shingles with solar-reflecting granules, which raise the SRI value and extend the lifespan of your roof.
How Can You Make Your Roof More Energy-Efficient?
There are many ways you can make your roof more energy-efficient. Here are some ideas to take note of:
Install a Cool Roof
While the term “cool roof” is typically associated with commercial roofing or flat roofs, it’s actually defined by the Department of Energy as “one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than an ordinary roof.” Thus, this means any energy-efficient roof can be qualified as a cool roof. Cool roofs often go over an existing roof by adding a reflective coating. If you live in a city where most properties have flat roofs, a roof is a great choice.
Upgrade Your Insulation
Proper insulation keeps excess heat out of a home during warmer months while preserving heat indoors in winter. Its purpose is to slow down the heat allowed to transfer between the outdoors and your living space. By insulating your attic and roof deck, you can reduce overall energy usage by 11 percent. Sealing up air holes and gaps should also be included in any insulation upgrade project.
Add Better Ventilation
While it’s equally important to seal up cracks and holes, you also have to make sure that the air inside your living space is ventilated back outside. This guarantees that you are receiving a steady supply of fresh air. As such, you may want to install a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy-recovery ventilator (ERV). These systems help reduce the load on your HVAC by 9 to 12 percent by using the surrounding heat in your home.
Use a Radiant Barrier
Another option to consider is the use of a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier is a coating that helps reflect the heat away from the attic resulting in less solar heat gain. This is usually applied during a reroofing project that requires the replacement of the roof’s deck or sheathing. By applying this energy-saving method, you can lower your heating and cooling costs and reduce your energy footprint.
An energy-efficient roofing system has many benefits for you and the environment. If you’re thinking of replacing your existing roof, talk to our expert roofers at De Palma Construction. We also provide quality roof repair services and many more. Call us today at (717) 638-1131 or fill out our contact form to set an appointment.