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Energy-Efficient Roofs: How They Work, Benefits, & More

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

A green house made of organic materials sits against a light gray background and with a white recycling symbol and other energy-efficient symbols

Energy-efficient roofs, sometimes known as cool roofs, are on the rise as roofing technology advances. An energy-efficient roof is one that works with the sun, rather than against it, to help regulate the temperature of your home. These roofs have a variety of benefits for both homeowners and the environment. Learn more about energy-efficient roofs here!

Benefits of Energy-Efficient Roofs

The biggest benefit of having an energy-efficient roof is the money it will save on your electricity bill. In the summertime, an energy-efficient roof will reflect the sun’s heat which will help keep the interior cool. This means your AC will not have to run as much. In the wintertime, these roofs will help keep the heat inside your home from escaping, helping your heating system from running too much.

These roofs also last longer than a typical roof. Roofs that overheat are at danger for cracking and blistering. By reflecting heat, an energy-efficient roof helps keep your roof consistently cool. With less roof damage, your roof will have a longer lifespan and will require less repairs. According to Family Handyman, just choosing the right roof color can help extend the lifespan of your roof.

Energy-efficient roofs are also better for the environment. Urban heat island effect happens when a neighborhood is densely packed with heat absorbing surfaces. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, this increases the pollution levels and heat-related illnesses. Energy-efficient roofs help decrease the heat being absorbed and retained to lower the temperature of the entire neighborhood.

A hand reaches out with a silver ruler to measure the depth of the pink and fluffy attic insulation surrounding the wooden support beams of a home

Interior Roof Energy Efficiency

Do not worry if you are not looking to replace your roof just yet. Without even touching a roof’s exterior, there are ways to increase energy efficiency.

The most important part of any roof when it comes to heating and cooling is the insulation. Proper insulation is important for helping regulate your home’s temperature. By keeping heat inside during the winter, and keeping heat out during the summer, insulation helps lower your electricity bill.

Having proper attic ventilation is also important. Without ventilation, your roof will overheat which will cause damage to your roofing materials. Proper ventilation also helps keep your home cool during the summer by giving warm air a place to escape.

You could also install a radiant barrier under the roof deck. This is a coating that sits under your shingles to help prevent the attic from absorbing heat. Although this option will have to be done during a roof replacement, it is a great alternative for someone that wants to keep their darker roof color.

Types of Energy-Efficient Roofs

There is no one answer for energy efficiency. Roofs that help lower the amount of energy used come in all different materials. No matter what climate you live in, there are options for energy-efficient roofs.

Asphalt Shingles: The most affordable energy-efficient roofs are made with asphalt shingles. Energy-efficient shingles are infused with reflective granules that typical shingles do not have. Choosing a lighter roof color will also help reflect the sun's heat, as a darker roof color will absorb it.

Metal Roofs: Metal roofing materials use a reflective pigment to help keep your home cool. While this option is more expensive than asphalt shingles, metal roofing materials are more sustainable. Modernize says metal roofs can be made with up to 60% of recycled roofing materials. Not only are these roofs recyclable once they need to be replaced, but they last a lot longer than other roofing options.

Tile Roofs: Roofing tiles allow for the most ventilation. They create a channel between the roof deck and the tile, which allows warm air to circulate and escape through the ridge at the top. These tiles are also able to emit a high amount of thermal heat from the sun, making them an excellent choice for energy efficiency. The only downside to this option is how expensive it is. However, the lower electricity bill often outweighs the installation cost.

Solar Shingles: The roofing materials with the highest energy efficiency is, unsurprisingly, solar shingles. A new type of roofing tech, solar shingles are shingle-sized solar panels that give a house a slick look. They absorb the sun’s heat and turn it into energy for your home, so you do not have to spend as much on your electricity bill. Solar shingles are the most expensive energy-efficient option.

Green Roofs: The most sustainable energy-efficient roof is a green roof. These are roofs with vegetation growing, instead of shingles. These roofs absorb the sun’s heat and insulate against it. According to Fixr, green roofs help to significantly reduce the urban heat island effect. The downside to this type of roof is the cost of installation and maintenance.

Cool Roofs

Cool roofs are the epitome of energy efficient roofing. Cool roofs use special coatings that allow light to bounce off them instead of absorbing it. This means less heat gets absorbed by the roof and more goes out into the atmosphere. In addition, cool roofs reduce the need for air conditioning because they keep our homes cooler. This is a great option for hot climates, but Energy Saver advises those that live in colder climates to consider the amount of heat they will lose from their roof not absorbing it.

It is possible to convert your current roof to a cool roof with a cool roof coating. This will paint your roof white to reflect and emit the heat. However, this might be against HOA rules, so make sure to check with them before coating your roof. For low-sloped and flat roofs, the roof color will not be seen from the ground so it most likely will not be an issue.

A peaceful neighborhood scene with rows of light colored roofs and white cement driveways with an abundance of greenery surrounding each home

Energy-Efficient Roof Installation

If you are interested in a lower electricity bill, then consider switching to an energy-efficient roof. There are options available for all climates in the United States of America. Whether you live in a hot climate like Tampa, FL or Dallas, TX, or you live in a colder climate like Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, or Pittsburgh, PA, Lifetime Quality Roofing has you covered.

If you’d like to talk with one of our expert inspectors about the energy efficiency of your roof, then call us today at 614-407-7663! Our expert team will be able to assist you with a 100% free inspection and the insurance claim process.

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