Heat rises, and that means that much of your home’s energy could be escaping through your roof. Up to 1/3 of the heat produced by your home heating system is lost through the roof, walls or ceiling. Sadly, energy efficient roofing technology progressed very slowly over most of the past hundred years. However, recent technological advances are starting to change all that. New materials and better insulation have been brought to the market to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. When thinking about energy efficiency in your roof and attic, pay close attention to two areas – roofing type and insulation. Note however, that the cost involved in upgrading is often a deterrent to performing the work, as a new roof and insulation could exceed $10,000.
Fortunately, there are a number of options available to homeowners whether they choose to spend the money or not. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons.
When speaking about a materials’ efficiency, we often refer to a its “R-Value.” An R-Value is the measure of heat resistance for a particular material. The higher the value, the better the resistance to heat. It is an important number, as your region may have regulations for minimal R-Values for newly built homes.
Typically, inadequate insulation and air leakage are the leading causes of energy waste when speaking about roofing. Proper insulation can save money and energy, making your house more comfortable by keeping temperatures more uniform throughout and keeping the house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Insulation will only reduce air movement within the space it occupies. That is to say, if there are spaces between insulation or if there are leaks, the insulation cannot perform its job to 100% efficiency. And just as leaks or spaces in insulation can reduce its efficiency, so can the presence of moisture. Moisture can even cause mold problems. There are several different types of insulation available to homeowners – blankets, blown-in loose fill, foam and rigid. For more information on the types of insulation available, please see our insulation page.
The type of roofing you have can also play into your monthly energy consumption and spending. For the longest time, roofing has been made from 2 materials – wood and asphalt shingling. However, newer materials on the market have made great strides in recent years towards reducing the energy lost through a home’s roof. These new materials pay close attention to 3 areas of the roof – emissivity, reflectivity and insulation. Emissivity referers to how quickly the material releases the heat it has absorbed. Reflectivity refers to how much light the roof reflects. Insulation, as explained above, refers to the matrials’ resistance to heat.
As with insulation, there are many different option available to homemowners looking to make their roof more energy efficient, most notably with the type of covering for the roof. For example, metal roofing offers high reflectivity and is quite energy efficient, not to mention it is very durable and stands up to exterme weather conditions very well. Clay or concrete tiles are becoming more popular, as they are not only esthetically pleasing, but can also have energy efficient coating sprayed on them. Please visit our roof materials page to find out more on how a new roof could save you energy and money.