Moderating use of home heating and cooling systems and turning off lights when leaving a room are not the only ways to save energy. The roof installed on a home can also achieve energy savings. Homeowners should discuss the different types of energy-saving roofing materials with an experienced roofer who services their area. They may be surprised at the affordability of these materials and the energy savings realized.
Saving Energy with Asphalt or Other Materials
Asphalt shingles have been the go-to roofing material for homeowners for decades. Asphalt roofs that are painted white can be as much as 45 degrees cooler than a darker-color version, say experts. The home interior remains cooler so less air conditioning is required to keep it comfortable. It is not difficult to create a "cool roof" and states like Arizona have made it mandatory with state-funded buildings.
Some roofs accomplish the same purpose using materials that reflect heat from the sun. The Department of Energy provides federal tax credits for these. Those that carry the ENERGY STAR rating reflects more of the sun's rays, lowering the surface temperature of the roof by as much as 100 degrees and reducing peak cooling demands by between ten and 15 percent.
At the extreme end of the energy saving spectrum are conventional shingles featuring a "smart" coating that adjusts to temperature changes. Cooking oil waste from fast food restaurants is used to make the coating, which helps save energy by reading a thermometer. These roofs reflect sunlight during summer, keeping homes cool. When outdoor temperatures are cool, they transmit heat to help warm the home interior.
Roof Material Environmental Impact and Energy Savings
Cool roofs also provide environmental benefits. According to one energy expert, if a typical 1,000 square-foot roof were painted white, ten tons of carbon dioxide would be saved. This is the equivalent of emissions from a single vehicle for a two and a half year-period. If cool roofs were installed nationwide, approximately two billion tons of carbon dioxide would be eliminated. This is approximately the same result achieved by removing 20 million cars from the road for two decades.
The Department of Energy has a roof savings calculator that homeowners can use to estimate energy savings provided by a cool roof. Homeowners who are due for a new roof should use this tool to determine energy savings realized by selecting different roofing materials. An experienced roofer can then help make this a reality.