Upgrading your home solely to gain an improvement in energy efficiency can often be a losing game. While you'll reduce your utility costs, you'll often spend much of those gains on initial construction or remodeling costs. However, keeping energy efficiency in mind when you make necessary repairs or replacements can be an excellent way to reduce expenses and make your home greener.
If it's time to replace your existing roof, you're already committed to making a fairly large investment in your home. Since you're spending the money on a new roof, now is the perfect time to consider how you can make back some of that expense through improved energy efficiency. Surprisingly, your choices when installing your new roof can significantly impact your home's utility bills.
How Does Roofing Affect Energy Efficiency?
It's useful to think of your home as a "bubble" that separates the inside and outside worlds. The structure of your house keeps conditioned air inside while protecting you against the elements. This concept is often known as the structural envelope, and a tighter envelope keeps conditioned air inside for longer, ultimately reducing your utility bills.
When you picture your home, it's easy to see that your roof makes up a huge portion of its envelope. No matter the shape or style of your roof, it's likely one of the most exposed elements anywhere on the structure. In addition to repelling wind, rain, and snow, it must also stand up to intense sunlight all summer.
That sunlight transfers thermal energy to your roof, which works its way into your home. As a result, your roof can add substantially to your cooling load during the summer. Roofing color and material are two major contributing factors, but roofing insulation also plays a role. Additionally, proper attic ventilation is critical to help remove heat and moisture.
What Can You Do to Improve Energy Efficiency?
If you're looking to improve your home's energy efficiency when installing a new roof, material and color can have some of the most significant impacts. A metal roof will offer substantially better energy efficiency by reflecting more of the sun's thermal energy away from your home. Higher reflectivity means less energy gets absorbed by your roof, creating a smaller load on your home's cooling system.
Colors are another option worth considering. If you don't want to install a metal roof or want to avoid the extra expense, you may want to consider gray or white asphalt over darker colors. These lighter colors can also reflect more light, improving your roof's energy efficiency. Special Energy Star-certified shingles are another option since these typically contain special granules to reduce heat absorption.
Of course, proper installation is also critical. A qualified and experienced roofing contractor will help you select the most energy-efficient roofing option, but they will also ensure your attic has adequate insulation and venting. Combining all of these factors is the best way to ensure your new roof is as energy efficient as possible.
Reach out to a residential roofing contractor near you to learn more.