The next time you take a drive through your neighborhood take a look at the type of roofs most homes are built with. Most likely you will see house after house with very dark, almost black, or dark brown roofing shingles. The reason for this is simply the fact that this color works well with most home designs.
But a large black surface facing skyward is also a huge heat magnet that draws in the sun’s rays and causes your house to bake. In fact, dark colored shingles absorb about 80 percent of the heat that radiates onto them. When it comes time to replace your old roof, there are some options that may cut your energy costs by reducing the amount of heat absorbed through the top of your house.
In 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began a program to rate roofing materials for energy efficiency. Several types of roofing shingles have earned an ENERGY STAR rating as well as other various roofing products. If you are planning a roof replacement, the first thing you should consider is selecting light colored shingles rather than dark ones, in order to reflect some of that heat. Some estimates claim that a lighter colored roof can reduce heat absorption by up to 40 percent.
While asphalt shingles continue to be the leader in terms of home roofing options, this is mostly due to cost. There are alternatives to traditional asphalt roofing shingles including:
While some products can be used in all climates, others such as clay are more suitable for temperate climate regions and those areas where the risk of damage from hail is minimal.
There are also opportunities to take advantage of some heat reflective coatings that can be applied to standard roofing shingles. While getting out a bucket of white paint and turning the entire roof of your house into one bright reflective shield will work, most home owners probably don’t want the only white-roofed house in the neighborhood – not to mention it probably won’t add to the value of your home.
Your best way of learning what options are available for your region and climate is to contact a RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractor in your area. A RESNET certified professional will know which products will be the most energy efficient and how to install them in a professional and cost effective manner.