Conservation is one of the best ways to lower a high energy bill caused by increased room temperature which requires the air conditioning unit to run continually. High temperatures and rising humidity are both huge contributors to escalating energy consumption.
One way to decrease such costs is to switch providers when such a change is allowed; another way is to replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones. This could help that bill somewhat; however the real culprit is right overhead – the roof! Yes, if there is a bad roofing system on the home, it is probably causing increased utility bills.
Assistance from Technology
The answer to achieving an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient home is getting the right roof. From an energy-saving point of view, technology dealing with this part of a house has not shown much improvement until very recent times when some significant findings led to some promising changes, i.e. the development of an energy-efficient roofing system. Following are some of the material types that have seen significant cost-saving developments.
- Asphalt Shingles – If the goal is to have a house look fabulous and be cost-efficient, recycled asphalt shingles could be the answer. ‘Cool’ shingles are being produced by manufacturers that are energy-star rated; come in many different colors; and carry a 40-year warranty with a potential lifespan of up to 50 years.
- Metal – This may not be a consideration for every homeowner; however metal roofing is more energy-efficient when compared to asphalt shingles. It is engineered from steel, copper, and aluminum and is free from toxic lead. Metal types of coverings have the quality of solar reflectance thus absorbing less heat to go inside a home.
- Clay and Slate – These materials are environmentally friendly and are a good choice for an energy-efficient type of covering. Clay and slate come in different designs, appearance and many elegant colors. They are ideal for roofs in warmer climates because they promote airflow on the surface which decreases ambient room temperature and makes the house cool during the hot summer season.
- Green Roofing – The roof of a house can be made entirely of sod. Although a very old technique, the new version provides a wonderful layer of insulation over the rooms below. It is very effective in lowering energy consumption, appealing to the eye, and more recently in German, a very effective way to mitigate storm water run-off. This covering has a long service life, decreases utility costs with the correct insulation, and helps absorb water during heavy rains.
- Reflective coatings – Another breakthrough in the industry is the development of reflective coatings. Reflective coatings have a high ‘albedo’ (high solar reflectance) effect. This can be applied to any type of roofing material. There are various types of coatings called ceramic, polyurethane and elastomeric coverings which are believed to deliver 80 percent solar reflectance. There are also coatings with high infrared emittance to radiate heat back into the atmosphere.
Colors for roofs have varying degrees of solar reflectance. White coatings reflect more of the ultraviolet rays of the sun to make the home cooler. A gray color only has 25 percent solar reflectance; terra cotta has 41 percent solar reflectance; sunset rose has 43 percent solar reflectance; mocha has 36 percent solar reflectance; and cocoa/rustic brown have 35 percent solar reflectance. The initial cost is high; however, choosing the right color will help save on energy bills and will justify that initial expense. Moreover, darker roofs retain more heat which makes the home hotter and causes the air conditioner to work harder.
A good ceiling insulation can reap big benefits. Roofing insulation, also called radiant barriers, is installed to reduce cooling costs. It is made with high reflective materials to decrease heat conductivity. Just like reflective coatings, the performance is based on emittance and reflectance plus the angle of installation. There are several types of radiant barriers and they all provide the same thermal insulation.
Reducing energy consumption through conservation can reduce utility costs and promote an ecologically friendly environment. Choosing the right roofing system will significantly reduce the usage of the cooling system and bring down energy costs. The design, structure, types of materials, colors and insulation are all elements that directly affect interior room temperature. So, the roof could be the culprit of high utility bills!