Save Energy by Installing a Cool Roof

No homeowners looks forward to the day that they have to replace their asphalt shingle roof. But every 15-20 years, it’s a good idea to consider replacing shingles as they age. By installing what is known as a “cool roof,” you’ll be able to save a fortune on cooling costs for your home during the summer — and all without costing you a ton of money in the process. In fact, most cool roof technology incurs little to no additional cost for the homeowner.

Cool roofing materials are designed to reflect solar radiation and provide thermal emittance. Both of these properties combined can be measured by the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) and is reflected on a scale ranging from 0-1 with higher ratings translating into increased reflectivity and emissivity. Cool roofs typically employ a reflective coating and during the summer months can stay 50-60 degrees cooler than conventional shingles.

But not all cool roofing materials are asphalt shingles. Roofing materials like metal, slate, clay or concrete roof tiles are considered cool roofs. Cool colored coatings and glazes can be applied to the tile to increase its SRI significantly. Cool coating can be applied after installation or installed by the manufacturer prior to installation.

Before purchasing a cool roof, it’s a wise idea to do a little insulation work in your attic to increase the effects of a cool roof coating. Ceilings and roofs should have an R-value somewhere between an R-30 and R-60 depending upon how hot your region gets during the summer months. You may also want to increase attic ventilation by adding a whole roof ridge vent.

While a cool roof is a technology that is best used in hot climates, it doesn’t mean that a cool roof in a northern climate isn’t a good idea. Many cool roof technologies will help you save money on cooling costs even if you’re home doesn’t use much in the way of air conditioning.

The main cost of installing a cool roof is simply the choice of materials you use. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a cool roof will cost you an average of 75 cents more than a conventional roof. The good news is that you’ll get the extra money you spent back in energy savings as well as in extending the lifespan of your roof. Some cool energy coatings combined with metal roofing can last well over 100 years.

Before you install a new roof, be sure to ask your roofing contractor about cool roofing options and save yourself money on your new roof for years to come.

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