Energy efficient roofing and home improvement is a hot topic as homeowners attempt to lower their expenses and decrease the size of their environmental footprint.
The Department of Energy estimates that nearly 20% of consumers’ annual energy expenses goes to waste through leaky and outdated systems. And, in the face of global warming, homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to use less fuel to run their homes.
One of the biggest contributors to cost and resources is temperature control.
Instrumental to that is the roofing and insulation of the building. As one of the home’s largest systems it can lead to significant energy savings, or expenditures.
With today’s technological advances it’s easier than ever to get the design and durability you want without adding to your utility bill, or damaging the environment.
Quite a few energy efficient roofing options exist that will save you money down the road.
What Are the Most Popular Energy Efficient Roofing?
Depending on your location and environment, some energy efficient roofing materials are better suited for you.
However, with the advancements of technology and the eco-friendly movement, there are more options available than ever before.
Some of the most popular energy efficient roofing includes:
- Clay and Slate Tiles
- Metal Roofs
- Spray Polyurethan Foam (SPF)
- Living Roofs
We’ll discuss each one of these eco-friendly and sustainable roofing options below.
Clay and Slate Tiles
One of the most energy efficient roofing available is clay and slate tiles.
By some estimates a properly installed tile roof can cut the amount of heat in a building’s attic by almost half.
There are two reasons that tile roofs are so energy efficient:
- The raw materials are naturally resistant to heat.
- They’re installed individually rather than in sheets creating ventilation around each one.
Tile roofs can be used in warm or cold climates. They reduce ice damming in cold climates, and naturally shed water in warm climates.
Manufacturers produce tiles to match any architectural style and shape. They can mimic wood shaker-style or historical materials as well as Spanish, Colonial, or contemporary styles.
They’re color-fast with some manufacturers guaranteeing the color for fifty years.
Clay and slate tiles are economical due to their longevity and need for minimal maintenance. Tile roofs have been known to withstand hundreds of years of use. And unlike other roofing materials, there’s no need for regular painting, coating, or sealing. Repairs are easy because a single tile can be replaced at a time instead of an entire section.
Adding to their appeal, clay and slate are biodegradable, and can also be reclaimed then recycled.
Metal roofs are an exceptional energy efficient roofing choice for homes in warm climates. They owe their energy efficiency to the fact that they don’t absorb heat very well.
They can also be coated to reflect thermal energy and add additional savings.
Most are constructed from aluminium, steel, or copper. These roofs are lightweight, durable, and long-lasting. They’re available is a variety of colors and shapes to match any architectural style: flat tile, wood shaker-style, barrel tile, traditional metal seam.
Metal roofs require no more roofing maintenance than regular shingled roofs.
Debris should be removed from the area, and gutters need to be kept clean. Seams and fasteners should be inspected regularly.
Care should be taken when walking on the roof though because the thin sheets can easily bend.
The upfront cost of a metal roof is sometimes more than other options, but it really depends upon the shape of the building and details such as drip edges, coatings, and flashing.
Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF)
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofs have been around for about forty years and are another type of energy efficient roofing.
They are great at resisting heat, and add virtually no weight to the existing structure.
SPF roofs are comprised of two layers: a rigid foam applied to the surface of the roof, and an outer protective coating.
The first component is a two-part material applied using a spray gun. The liquid quickly expands and chemically bonds to the roofing surface.
It can accommodate any slope and any thickness making it a very versatile material. This layer provides the insulatory value of the roofing system.
It’s a waterproof barrier between the roofing substrate and the environment.
That base foam layer can, however, be degraded by UV rays, and damaged by trees or other debris so a second protective layer must be applied on top of it.
This layer is a tough, rubberized coating applied by hand or power-roller.
SPF roofing systems are good in areas of severe climates or where high winds are expected. It’s also good for roofs that are oddly shaped.
This roofing system contributes very little waste to the environment. Application releases few emissions, and manufacturing it uses less energy than other insulation materials.
Concrete tiles have been around since the middle 1800s with some of those original tiles still in use today.
Manufacturing processes have changed, tiles are no longer stamped by hand, but the overall durability and aesthetics of this material has not.
Concrete tiles are an extremely durable, energy efficient roofing material.
They can resist winds over 125 mph, and are highly resistant to fire and hail damage. Additionally they stand up well to earthquake activity.
They can be made into virtually any size and shape to match any architectural style. The base color of the cement is grey or white but pigments are added to achieve any shade possible.
Roofs made of concrete tile do benefit from regular debris removal and power-washing. They’re prone to developing algae growth.
Tiles made of concrete resist heat transfer in a couple ways.
First, they’re reflective.
Second, their structure allows for lots of ventilation to keep them from heating up.
Those two characteristics help keep the underlying building cooler and more stable so that less energy is required from the air conditioner.
Sometimes called green roofs, this trend of deliberately installing plants atop a building roof began in Germany sometime in the 1960s.
It’s been a popular covering for countryside homes in other European countries for quite a few centuries but has recently seen a surge of interest in urban areas.
A Canadian study showed a significant reduction in energy requirements to buildings that have a living roof.
It insulates well, and protects the underlying roof structure from UV and weather damage.
Energy efficient roofing and home improvements will continue to peak the interest of homeowners searching for ways to reduce their environmental impact and reduce energy expenses.
While roofing is a large contributor to those expenses, many material options exist that will save you money in the long run.