If you live in an older home, it probably was not built with an eye towards energy efficiency. Today, however, energy efficiency is a hot topic for home builders and homeowners. Besides saving you money, making your home more efficient benefits the world around you. As concern rises over how we produce our electricity and other energy sources, minimizing energy use is a vital issue of our time. Your roof is one of the largest pieces of your home’s building envelope, the sum total of all of the exterior parts of your home that separate it from the outdoors. This includes your exterior walls, doors, windows, basement, and roof. Keeping your building envelope sealed from the elements in a significant factor in energy use reduction, and your roof plays a major role. You can reduce energy costs with a new roof or even with updates to an existing roof.
Quality Roofing and Insulation Matter
When you look at your roof from the outside, all you see is the uppermost layer, the shingles. But the shingles are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Your roof is there to protect you, your family, and your home from the elements. Much of that work is done by parts of your roof that you almost never see. All of the components of your roofing system must work together. Together they can maximize energy efficiency, prevent moisture buildup, and ensure your safety and protection.
The quality of your roof plays a significant role in how well it does its job. By quality, we mean that every aspect of your roof and its installation is done with the intention of maximum protection and energy efficiency.
First, you need to start with a quality design. High-quality design takes into account the style of your roof, the design of your home, and the climate. Next, you need high-quality materials. It isn’t necessary to use the most expensive option for every part of your roof. But it is important to be aware of the quality of the materials you are purchasing. Each type of material should at least be durable and suited to the unique requirements of your roof.
Installation is the next step where quality makes an immense difference. If you hope to reduce energy costs with a new roof, you need to know that your roofer is doing the job right. Eagle Watch Roofing is an expert in high-efficiency roofing and can help guide you to the low-energy consumption roof of your dreams.
Finally, proper insulation and venting in your attic is a critical part of efficiency. No matter the quality of your roof, if your attic is trapping heat, you are in for trouble.
Top Benefits of Proper Roofing, Ventilation, and Insulation
When you choose to install a high-quality roof and keep your attic in good condition, you will see some very specific benefits. Specifically, installing or upgrading your roof to be energy efficient will improve these important factors:
- Increased home value. Whether you want to add value prior to selling your home, or if you just want to increase the value of your assets, a new or upgraded roof will instantly add value to your home.
- Protection from the elements. If a roof is aging or was never installed correctly, it may not protect you when Mother Nature does her worst.
- Eliminate roof leaks. Roof leaks can cause severe damage to the structural components of your home, not to mention the indoors mess. A new or upgraded roof is much less likely to spring a leak.
- Maintain temperature. A good roof and attic will keep heat from escaping the home in the winter and entering the house in the summer. It keeps the outside air out and the conditioned indoor air in.
- Lower utility costs. While you may not see an immediate payoff, lowered utility bills can slowly offset the cost of your new or improved roof.
- Lower insurance. That’s right, insurance companies know that new roofs are less prone to catastrophic damage, and they will set your premiums accordingly.
Energy Saving Roofing Materials
One of the most critical factors in how much energy your roof saves in the materials you use. Older homes were typically built with little care for their energy efficiency. However, modern technology and science have led to some great energy saving materials.
The first thing to consider when replacing your roof if what color you will use for the shingles. The general rule is that lighter colored shingles will absorb less heat. It’s like the leather seat in a car on a hot day. A black leather seat will get much hotter than a white or beige seat. The same is true of roofs. The difference can be pretty significant. Of course, sometimes you want a darker roof for design reasons. Perhaps you just don’t like the look of a light colored roof. If that’s the case, there are other options. For instance, some darker shingles are built with special granules on top that are more reflective than typical dark shingles. The reflective granules keep the temperature down on an otherwise highly heat-absorbent shingle.
Another great energy saving material is a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier looks like a giant roll of aluminum foil that is highly reflective. It can be installed on the inside of an attic to reflect radiant heat. If you are doing a full roof replacement, it can also be installed under the shingles or underlayment. The shiny material reflects back the light and heat of the sun, preventing heat buildup in your attic that can then transfer to the air-conditioned areas of your home.
If you live in a colder climate, there are also materials that can contain heat and keep it from escaping your home. Insulation in the attic is the most common material for preventing heat loss.
Attic Ventilation for Energy Savings
There is some controversy about the necessity and benefit of attic ventilation for energy savings. One opinion is that it is less important to keep hot or cold air out of your attic than it is to keep the air in your attic out of your house. According to that argument, keeping your attic sealed off from your home makes the temperature in the attic irrelevant. On the other hand, the most commonly accepted argument is that controlling the temperature in your attic prevents it from heating or cooling your home at the wrong time.
The truth is probably somewhere in between. It is important to insulate your attic from the rest of your house and to do what you can to seal it off. However, the temperature of your attic does play a role in energy use. Also, maintaining proper attic ventilation prevents excessive heat or condensation that can damage the underside of your roof.
Building codes regulate the recommended amount of ventilation for an attic. The recommendation is one square foot of net free venting area for every 150 square feet of attic floor. Net free venting area is the amount of actual open space in your vent, which is less than the total vent area since most vents have some sort of grate or cover. The necessary ventilation area should be evenly split between intake and exhaust.
Roof Efficiency Assessment
If you have an older home, it is very likely that upgrades to the attic or roof could aid in your home’s energy efficiency. And if your roof is nearing it’s expected lifespan (about 20 years for a typical asphalt roof), it may be possible to significantly increase efficiency with a replacement. Eagle Watch Roofing can come to your home to perform an energy efficiency assessment. We will determine how efficient your roof is and what can be done to increase that efficiency. Contact us today to learn more!