Solar America

Maximize the Comfort of Your Home with Up-To-Date Roofing

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Roofing Overview


Americans spend about $40 billion annually to air condition buildings - a sixth of all electricity generated in this country.* By investing in a new, energy efficient roof, you could save a tremendous amount of energy and money throughout the life of your home and help keep your family safe and comfortable. In fact, installing an energy efficient roof could reduce building energy consumption by up to 40% and improve your home insulation performance to reduce winter heat loss and summer heat gain. A new energy efficient roof is one of the best and most consequential ways to make your home more efficient and maximize the operation of your existing energy efficient home appliances and products.

A new green roof, however, is a major investment and you will want to research your different options and find the best roofing for your home, climate and budget. To offset some of the cost of a new energy efficient roof, there are now Federal income tax credits as a part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” In fact, an energy efficient new roof entitles you to claim a tax credit for 30% of the cost of the materials (not installation cost) for your new roof, up to a total maximum credit in a single year of $1,500.

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Types of Energy Efficient Roofing


There are several different types of roofing options for you, depending on where you live and what your home looks like. As you review roofing material options, remember to carefully review the warranty on the product and the level of insulation and reflectivity provided. Many of the new energy-efficient roofing materials have much longer warranties, some as much as 60 years to a lifetime warranty which should be a major factor in terms of paying a higher price for a specific roofing material.

Remember, having a proper installed roof made out of the proper energy efficient material is critical in maintaining an efficient and tight home envelope. Sealing all cracks in your home and installing proper insulation go along way in creating an energy efficient home but reflectivity of the sun’s rays, especially in the summer, is a most important element of keeping your home cool.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs do not sound energy efficient but they can be some of the most efficient materials for you to use on your new roof. Steel and aluminum are the most common and affordable materials in metal roofing as they are strong, durable, fire resistant roof and can withstand harsh weather.  In fact, if you live where the weather conditions are harsh, it's worth having a look at metal roofing.

What makes metal roofs so efficient is that they reflect much of the sunlight keeping the heat from entering your home. In addition, their efficiency can be increased by using a protective coating that helps to increase their reflective power. Reflecting sunlight and heat keeps the roof cooler and keeps the attic and interior cooler and if you use a fan in the attic, your home will be even cooler.

Tiles

Tile roofs are typically made out of clay and concrete as they are very weather resistant and can be modeled into attractive and decorative shapes and sizes. Two excellent options for tile roofs are clay and slate. Corrugated clay tiles encourage air flow on the surface of the roof, keeping the home cool in the summer. Beware however that sever hail may shatter a clay tile which is why clay tiles are typically only used in warmer climates. Slate, on the other hand, is far more durable lasting up to 100 years with little maintenance. Furthermore, slate tiles can be reclaimed and recycled making them even greener. Lastly, on clay or slate tiles, additional reflective coating can be added to tile as well keeping more sun off your home.

Depending on the weather conditions and climate, tile underlayment should be replaced about every 10-15 years. When you replace your underlayment, a professional will take down your existing tiles, replace the underlayment and either replace your original tiles or put up new ones. Since this is such a large undertaking, make sure you always use the best underlayment at all times to minimize having to replace it down the road.

Recycled Shingles

To create the ultimate environmentally friendly roof, use recycled shingles. In fact, one of the worst things you can do is install 15-year, non-recycled shingles as they are very disposable as a material and contain toxic volatile organic chemicals that evaporate under the heat of the sun. This means that just by sitting under the sun and heating up, your home is releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Using recycled asphalt shingles with reclaimed materials helps reduce waste and they typically have a 50-year lifespan (as opposed to 15 years for non-recycled shingles), so you won’t have to replace them as often.

Sprayed on Polyurethane Foam Roofing

Polyurethane Foam roofing is found mostly on commercial buildings with flat and low-sloped roofs where the roof is a bit hidden. It is possible to put it on a sloped roof, however, most people choose not to because of how it looks. The polyurethane foam comes in two components that are put together right before application and sprayed on to the roof and then usually an elastomeric coating is put over the top of the foam which provides protection from the sun and its harmful Ultra Violet rays.

Polyurethane Foam roofing has a number of advantages over traditional materials in that it is incredibly energy efficient and helps your home a constant, comfortable temperature. And because foam roofing is sprayed on, there are no seams which means that your roof is less likely to develop leaks. It is also very lightweight and much less expensive than other energy efficient and traditional roofing materials available.

Unfortunately, Polyurethane Foam roofing also has significant disadvantages. First, it is not particularly attractive because it is a sprayed on materials. While it will look nice and smooth when applied correctly, most people want their roof to have a traditional look with tiles or shingles even if they are not energy efficient.

Energy Star Roofs

When in doubt look for roofing materials with the Energy Star rating on them. Energy Star qualified roofing products reflect more of the sun's rays which can lower roof surface temperature by up to 100 degrees which then decreases the amount of heat transferred into a building. Energy Star qualified roof products can help reduce the amount of air conditioning needed in buildings and reduce peak cooling demand by up to 10-15%.*

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Getting Bids For The New Roof


You should always get at least 3 estimates before making a decision on replacing your roof. You should take into account not only initial price, but also maintenance costs and type of warranty you will receive over the life of your roof. Ask your installer about installation time as there might be drying times for coatings or for the underlayment for the roofing material. Some roofing materials simply take longer to install because of size or method of attachment. For example, installing an insulated metal roof will probably take about three times as long as an asphalt shingle roof. And, more importantly, no matter what you arrange with your contractor, get all of it in writing!


*source: www.energystar.gov & www.energy.gov