How Energy Efficient is Your Roof?

How Energy Efficient is Your Roof?

It takes a lot of energy to power, heat, and cool our homes. If you care about saving energy for the environment or for your monthly utility bills, you might be looking for ways to make your home more efficient. Is your roof helping you reach your efficiency goals? Let’s evaluate how energy efficient your roof is, and some things you can do to improve your roof’s energy savings.

How Energy Efficient is Your Roof?

When considering energy efficiency as it relates to your roof, there are several factors that can affect how your roof retains or releases energy. Looking at these five factors, we can determine if you have an energy efficient roof.

Heat Gain

Roofs with a high heat gain are generally less efficient than those with a low heat gain. This is because they absorb and retain heat during the summer, making it more difficult and costly to keep your home cool. However, if you live in a place that is always cold, heat gain can improve your home’s efficiency because it makes your heating more effective.

Reflectivity 

Reflectivity has to do with how much of the sun’s light and heat is reflected off your roof. Your roof’s color and materials play major roles in determining its reflectivity. Lighter colored roofs will be more reflective and absorb less heat, making them more efficient than darker roofs which absorb and trap heat.

Roofing Materials 

Some roofing materials are naturally more efficient than others. For example, metal roofs are lighter and more durable than asphalt shingle roofs and also put less stress on your home’s structure. As an added bonus, when they do eventually need to be replaced, metal roofs are completely recyclable.

Durability 

Durability can determine energy efficient roofs because roofs that last longer are more efficient. Roofs that constantly need repairs or a short lifespan before replacement are less efficient and end up costing more than the investment of a highly durable roof.

Insulation & Ventilation

Insulation and ventilation can be hugely important for an energy efficient roof. Insulation helps your home retain heat during cooler months. Ventilation helps keep your home cool in the warmer months. Both can help protect your roof from roof damage such as ice dams, condensation, and leaks.

Energy Efficient Roof Types

The most energy efficient roof types are metal roofs, tile roofs, and some asphalt shingle roofs. These roofs use the factors we just discussed to conserve energy and protect your home.

Energy Efficient Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are one of the most durable roofing types available. When properly installed, they can last from 50-70 years before needing to be replaced. They are also very low maintenance compared to other roofing types.

Metal roofing makes use of its reflective properties to limit heat gain during the warm months. When combined with proper insulation, it can significantly reduce costs to heat and cool a home year-round.

Energy Efficient Tile Roofs

Tile roofs’ specialty is insulation, which keeps them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Although more of an investment than metal roofing or asphalt shingles, tiles have an incredibly long lifespan, which adds to their energy efficiency savings.

Energy Efficient Asphalt Roofs

Some asphalt shingle roofs can improve your home’s energy efficiency. Asphalt shingles developed with additives to reduce heat absorption can help counteract the typical heat gain associated with asphalt roofs. Asphalt roofs are also well-known for being great insulators, protecting your home from the elements and fluctuating temperatures.

Ways to Make Your Roof More Energy Efficient

If you want to boost your energy efficient roof’s capabilities, you can invest in solar roofing, manage stormwater effectively, and add insulation and ventilation. 

Install Solar Roofing

Solar roofing is a great way to increase your energy savings for your home. Solar roofing technology has greatly improved in recent years to be more efficient, protective, and attractive. It can blend seamlessly with your roofing design and offer you an alternative way to collect energy for your home.

Manage Stormwater 

Managing stormwater involves using gutters effectively to direct stormwater away from your roof where it could inhibit your roof’s energy efficiency. Or, you might install a system to collect stormwater and use it to irrigate your landscaping or garden.

Converting your roof into a green roof is another great way to make your roof more energy efficient, utilize stormwater, and provide excellent insulation for your home. Although green roofs require a bit of maintenance, the environmental and economical payoffs may help offset the work.

Add Insulation & Ventilation

Proper insulation and ventilation is key to maintaining an energy efficient roof. If you want to boost your home’s efficiency, make sure your roof is properly ventilated in all the right places, and that your attic is securely insulated to prevent heat loss or roof damage.

Having an energy efficient roof is more than just the bells and whistles of solar panels and turbines. It also comes down the little things like managing your home’s reflectivity and heat gain to save a few dollars on heating and cooling each month. 

If you’re interested in a more energy efficient roof, get in touch with Werner Roofing. Whether you’re looking for solar roofing, interested in a new metal roof, or just looking to improve your existing roof’s efficiency, we can make sure your roof is environmentally sound and save you money on your energy bills.

roofing contractor

OUR FREE ROOF INSPECTION

How do you know when it’s time for a new roof? The only way to be sure of your residential roof’s current condition is to have a licensed professional personally inspect it. Werner Roofing is proud to offer free roof inspections for every client, so you can be sure of your roof’s condition. Every Werner Roofing inspection comes complete with our promise: “We won’t recommend or sell a roof replacement unless it’s necessary.” 

What’s Up with Green Roofs?

What’s Up with Green Roofs?

Have you noticed in areas where there are many buildings and houses surrounded by asphalt and concrete, the temperature is a few degrees higher than rural areas and green spaces? This is a symptom of the urban heat island effect. Sunlight is absorbed by dark surfaces like asphalt shingles and roadways, trapping heat, while the pavement directs water runoff into polluted sewers. To break up this pattern, green roofs were introduced to bring more green space into our lives and help us enjoy the benefits of less heat generation, reduced pollution, and a natural filter for water and air.

What is a green roof, and how does it work? Let’s explore the trend and take a look at some of the benefits and possible disadvantages of green roofs.

What Is a Green Roof?

A green roof is a contained portion of green space created on a manmade structure. A green roof uses a well-designed sealing and drainage system to support plants for food production, energy efficiency, or just as an environmental bonus. First popularized in Europe, homeowners in the US are starting to enjoy the many benefits of more plants in their environment while also paying less for energy consumption, utilizing stormwater runoff, and helping their roof last longer.

Advantages of a Green Roof

How do you know if a green roof is right for you? If you would enjoy any of these advantages, consider converting your roof into a green roof.

Extra Green Space

A green roof can add green space to your property. When building a green roof there are two types, intensive and extensive. An intensive green roof is built on a flat surface that extends the living space of the house. You can use this space to produce food, grow flowers, or enjoy a simple garden retreat. An extensive green roof isn’t built to grow vegetables or walk on. Designed to be lightweight, an extensive green roof is installed exclusively for the environmental and energy benefits.

Whether you want to enjoy the extra legroom of an intensive green roof or just the environmental benefits of an extensive green roof, the additional green space can boost your mood, improve your focus, and help you breathe easier. Depending on your home’s structure and the climate where you live, an extensive or intensive green roof might be better suited for you. 

Green Roof, Green Energy

Green roofs are known to boost a home’s energy efficiency. As a natural layer of insulation, a green roof can reduce strain on your home’s HVAC system, extending its life, and keeping you cooler during the warm months and warmer during the cold ones. 

A green roof also limits the need for an expensive drainage system. Plants make use of rainwater and help the excess drain away from your home. All green roofs should be designed with an intuitive drainage plan to keep water from pooling where it could break through your waterproof seal or damage growing plants.

Increased Roof Durability

A layer of plants protects your roof from harmful UV rays, which are known for causing oxidation and cracking of asphalt shingles. A green roof protects your home’s barrier from extreme temperature variations as well as tears from the wind or impact from hail or tree branches. When installed properly, a green roof will last longer than a traditional roof, and with a little maintenance, will grow and provide better protection over time.

A green roof can add a lot to a home or neighborhood. Other advantages of green roofs include:

  • Reduced noise 
  • Fire-retardant material
  • Improved air quality
  • Increased biodiversity
  • Stormwater management
  • Counteraction of urban heat island effect

green roof from above

Drawbacks of a Green Roof

It’s not always easy being green. A green roof requires a little more maintenance than a standard roof and costs a bit more to design and install.

Green Roof Maintenance

While longer-lasting than conventional roofs, green roofs require a little maintenance to keep them green. An intensive green roof will require some work to maintain plants, especially if you’re using it to grow produce. An extensive green roof, however, is designed to be low maintenance. Through rainfall and seasonal weather patterns, your plants should be mostly self-sustaining.

An important maintenance step with a green roof will be to check the drainage system regularly to make sure it’s working properly. Improper drainage could cause a tear in your waterproof seal or add extra weight to your home’s structure.

Green Roof Investment

One drawback of a green roof is that it requires a larger investment to get started. A green roof requires a well planned design and installation to earn the most benefits while being as low maintenance as possible. This likely means hiring a professional green roof designer to assist you in planning out your plants and building proper support for your roof.

If you’re not scared away by an initial investment, a green roof can provide hefty savings over time. In addition to the energy savings you’ll notice right away, a green roof is more durable, so it won’t need to be replaced any time soon, unlike a traditional roof.

How to Get Started with a Green Roof 

If you’re interested in putting a green roof on your home or building, it’s best to work with a certified installer. A green roof installer can make sure your house can support the roof for your intended use, help you choose plants that will work for your location, climate, and maintenance preferences, and design a system for drainage that will keep your plants happy and your home dry. A certified installer will be well acquainted with the ideal materials used to build green roofs and can suggest products to help boost energy efficiency and waterproofing. 

Green roofs aren’t for everyone, but they can be a unique way to boost energy efficiency and enjoy some extra green space around your home. If you’re wondering if your roof could support a green roof structure, let us know. We’d be happy to come out and assess your roof for you. Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or reach out online to learn more today.

FREE ROOF INSPECTION & QUOTE

If you’re considering a new roof, the first step is to have us come out for a FREE inspection. This will allow us to evaluate your roof and give an honest estimate based on your roof’s current condition.

ASK A ROOFING QUESTION

Do you have a roofing question? We’re here to help. Just let us know what you’re wondering about, and one of our representatives will get back with you shortly.

Pros and Cons of Solar Roofing in Michigan

Pros and Cons of Solar Roofing in Michigan

Installing solar roofing in Michigan has many advantages and few drawbacks, but it’s important to have a clear picture before investing in new roofing and energy technology. Let’s look at a few of the perks of going solar as well as some flaws that currently exist in the incentives package.

 

Advantages of Solar Roofing in Michigan

Solar roofing in Michigan can offer great advantages for the earth as well as the consumer. Solar power saves you more money every year and helps to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

 

Solar Roofing Saves Money

The biggest plus of installing solar roofing in Michigan is a considerable return on investment. Solar users can see their reliance on electricity decrease immediately and after 25 years, the panels pay for themselves. If homeowners explore loan or financing options for solar installation, their initial investment is significantly lowered and they can reap the energy savings more quickly — as soon as the first year.

Solar roofing also has the advantage of being modular, so you can start small and add to your roofing panels over time. Once you start enjoying the payoff of solar energy, you can reinvest those savings in more panels to expand your capacity.

 

Solar Roofing Saves Energy

Most solar roofing systems attach to the electricity grid that runs to your house. When there’s sun, you pull more power from the solar panels and pad the rest with traditional electric power. When there’s excess solar power, you use what you need and the rest is sent back along the grid to the power company. If you install a battery system with your panels or arrays, you can store this extra energy and use it to help power your home during the winter months.

Solar panels work year-round. Even on cloudy days, when the light is diffused, panels are working to convert photons into useful electric energy. Solar panels work even more efficiently when the surface is cold, so sunshine in the winter is just as powerful as the summer sun’s rays.

 

Solar Roofing Saves the Planet

It’s no secret that solar energy is a green power source that helps fight our reliance on “dirty” energy resources. It’s not only more efficient and kind to the earth, but it’s also significantly cheaper. Most Michigan residents pay about 16 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). That puts us at #11 for most expensive electricity rates in the country — and prices for fossil fuel energy continue to rise year after year. Installing solar now will start earning you savings right away and increase its return every year. 

It’s clean, it’s efficient, it’s economical. Solar power is the future and it’s bright.

 

Disadvantages of Solar Roofing in Michigan

As with any new technology, there are a few drawbacks. Here are some things to consider before going solar.

 

Solar Roofing Requires Investment

While solar energy can offer significant savings in the long run, it does require an initial investment. Don’t let upfront costs deter you from seeking clean energy, however. There are solar loans, power purchase agreements, and other creative financing options that allow you to start reaping the benefits early and avoid spending a chunk of change from the get-go. Some loan options are even cheaper than buying solar with cash because the savings build up immediately and go toward future payments.

 

Solar Roofing Requires Minimal Maintenance

Solar panels are easy to maintain, but they do require a little care to keep them functioning at top capacity. They can be washed with just water with no cleaning additives that could abrase the surface. Using a squeegee or brush made for this purpose can help keep panels free of debris. Your panels won’t be damaged if you don’t clean them and they’re extremely resistant to hail and inclement weather. 

Snow can cover solar roofing in Michigan and diminish its ability to collect light, but won’t cause damage to the panels at all. If you choose to remove the snow, the process is simple. Using a long broom, brush the snow away from the panel. You don’t even need to remove all of the snow. As the sun heats the surface of the panel, remaining snow will melt away on its own.

 

Solar Roofing Requires Incentivizing

Tax credits for using solar energy to power your home have gone away… for now. Tax credits were formerly offered to those willing to make an investment in solar power, but utility companies fought to deter people from making the switch. Utility companies fight the legislation because they are threatened by the savings solar will bring to the energy consumer. They lose money when you don’t buy energy from them and don’t want to offer payments to the consumer for excess energy that’s returned. However, as more and more customers are seeing the savings of solar power, its popularity and sustainable advantage can’t be ignored. 

 

Legislative Progress

Michigan legislators are working to secure more tax benefits for solar users, including restoring net metering, which allows users to save up credits with the power company during high-production summer months and use them throughout the winter. Solar roofing companies recommend you save this energy by installing a battery system. This way, you can store energy for the winter and don’t have to feed it back to the utilities companies.

In 2019, Governor Whitmer signed a new law that makes solar panels exempt from property tax consideration. So while adding solar roofing will increase your home’s value, it won’t affect the taxable value of your property. Unfortunately, energy companies won in preventing net metering from being restored.

Solar companies are hopeful that legislators will continue to support tax breaks for switching to clean energy and restore net metering so savings can be passed on to customers and we can break our dependence on nonrenewable energy sources. 

 

Michigan’s Energy Future: Solar Roofing

Overall, solar roofing in Michigan is a great way to save money and do good for the environment. While there aren’t many tax breaks currently available, renewable energy is quickly gaining popularity with voters and politicians and incentives are likely to return. Solar roofing has a place in the future of energy generation and has shown switching to renewable energy pays off — for your home and the planet.

Still not sure if solar roofing is right for you? Talk to the experts at Werner Roofing. We can go over solar roofing options with you and show you the savings a new roof could earn. Give us a call at 616-844-5382 or reach out online today.

What it Means To Have An Energy Star Roof

What it Means To Have An Energy Star Roof

Americans spend about $40 billion annually to air-condition building as. That’s quite a lot of money to spend, and it’s also quite a lot of energy to use. Lately, more and more consumers have been seeking appliances and home features that sport the blue Energy Star label. Today, that Energy Star label even extends to roofing products! But what exactly is an Energy Star certified roof, and what does it mean for you, the homeowner? 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What is an Energy Star Certified Roof?

There’s actually no such thing as an “Energy Star Certified Roof.” Instead, there are a number of roofing products that have qualified for an Energy Star rating. If your roof is built using primarily Energy Star products, then, in essence, you have an Energy Star certified roof. 

How Do Roofing Products Become Energy Star Certified?

Like appliances, to qualify for an Energy Star rating, roofing materials have to pass a set of specifications set by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). At their core, these specifications require that the products:

  • Contribute significant energy savings nationwide
  • Deliver energy efficiency, while still offering the features and performance that consumers demand
  • Ensure that if there is an increase in material price, compared to a non-energy-efficient option, the Energy Star material will allow consumers to recoup their investment thanks to the energy efficiency of the product. 
  • Can be tested to ensure and verify the product’s energy consumption and performance

While there are a number more specifications than just these four, these express the main idea behind the Energy Star rating — that Energy Star products offer enhanced energy efficiency, at no sacrifice in cost, performance, or appearance to the consumer. 

How Do Energy Star Roofing Materials Help Me?

So now we know why certain roofing materials sport the Energy Star label, but what does that mean for you, as the consumer? Are there benefits to choosing Energy Star products over traditional products? 

Yes, there are benefits for you and for the environment. Here’s how purchasing Energy Star roofing materials can help you:

Decrease Heat Transfer

Energy Star qualified roofing products most often work to reflect the sun’s rays. Instead of absorbing heat from the sun, they’re highly reflective and cause those rays to bounce off. Since the heat isn’t absorbed into the roof, this can decrease a roof’s surface temperature by up to 100° F. When your roof isn’t so hot, less heat is seeping into your home, and you end up spending less money keeping your home cool in the summer. 

Reduce the Amount of Air Conditioning Needed

Since Energy Star roofs and roofing materials reflect heat, rather than absorb it, there’s less heat seeping into your home. That means your overall home temperature stays more constant, and your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool. On average, according to Energy Star, cool roofing materials can reduce peak cooling demand by about 10-15 percent. 

Benefit Your Environment, Locally and Globally

We’ve shown that Energy Star roofs can help you save quite a lot of cash, and keep your home more comfortable through the summer, but that’s not all. Energy Star roofing materials can go a long way to reduce your carbon footprint, and benefit your local environment, too. Cool roofs have been shown to help:

  • Reduce Local Air Temperatures. Sometimes referred to as the urban heat island effect, when an urbanized area becomes very hot during the summer, traditional building materials tend to absorb that heat. As buildings and homes all absorb heat from the sun, it causes the surrounding area’s temperatures to rise, sometimes significantly. Cool roofs and reflective, Energy Star certified roof materials help minimize this effect, lowering nearby air temperatures. 
  • Lower Peak Electricity Demand. Think about the hottest day of summer. You have the A/C blasting and all of the fans in the house plugged in and running at their highest setting. Chances are, your neighbors do too. In these peak electricity usage times, there’s always a risk of a power outage, because of the sheer amount of electricity being consumed. When your house is cooler thanks to Energy Star roof materials, you don’t have to use as much electricity to keep it at a comfortable temperature. You’re helping lower the overall electricity demand for your area. 
  • Reduce Power Plant Emissions. The less energy you use, the fewer emissions you’re responsible for putting into the environment. That includes carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury emissions, all of which are associated with high energy usage. When you use less energy and air conditioning, you reduce those emissions, which helps combat global climate change. 

 

In the end, a cool roof, or an Energy Star Certified Roof, is a great thing for you and the environment. It helps you save money on those energy bills, it reduces your carbon footprint, and it can even help directly impact your local environment too. 

If you’d like to learn more about cool roofs or Energy Star Certified Roofs, be sure to check out our other articles about Cool Roof Paint and Designing an Energy Efficient Roof. And if you’re really into green energy, you might be interested in our blog, Can Solar Panels Damage My Roof?

For more information about building an energy-efficient or Energy Star Certified Roof, be sure to get in touch with us here at Werner Roofing. We partner with the most trusted roofing supplier on the market, GAF. GAF provides an extensive line of Energy Star Certified Shingles that you can choose to build your roof with. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, give us a call at 616-844-5382, or contact us online for your free roofing estimate today!

Designing an Energy Efficient Roof

Designing an Energy Efficient Roof

Energy efficiency is a big topic for homeowners across the nation. Most of us spend around half of our utility bills on just heating and cooling, and the more we learn about global climate change, the clearer it becomes — energy efficiency is a must have. Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, or just save a little more on those utility bills, energy efficient roof design is a great way to contribute to both of those goals. 

Here are a few ways to design and install a roof that’s as energy efficient as possible:

Better Insulation

Your home’s insulation is one of the first ways you can achieve the best possible energy efficiency. The better your insulation, the easier it will be for your home to regulate and maintain temperatures. This means your home will stay cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. 

When it comes to your energy efficient roof, insulation is the barrier between your roof’s temperature and the temperature in your home. This is important in two specific ways:

 

  • In the summer — Your roof is taking the brunt of the sun’s UV rays. No matter what color your roof is, it’s absorbing heat from the sun in the summer. With good insulation, you can keep that heat energy from transferring into your home. Without it, the power of the sun, and the heat that your roof retains can warm up your house, causing you to keep cranking up the A/C.
  • In the winter — In the winter, you’re heating your house to keep it warm. If you don’t have enough insulation in your attic, that heat will rise, and escape up through your roof. Not only is this bad for your heating bill and energy consumption, but it can cause ice dams. Quality insulation, on the other hand, will trap heat inside your home  — keeping you nice and toasty without spending too much energy. 

 

Whether you’re trying to make an existing roof more efficient, or you’re designing a new roof, insulation is a key aspect of an energy efficient roof. You can add it in as you build, or now if your existing home is a little drafty. It’s a great fix for most homeowners. 

Solar Reflectivity or Cool Roof Materials

We’ve talked a bit about cool roof materials before, and if you’re building a new home or replacing an old roof, it’s an option you should consider for ultimate energy efficiency. 

As we mentioned in the last point, your roof absorbs a ton of UV rays. It directly faces the sun, after all, which means it’s subject to quite a lot of heat, even in the winter. Cool roof materials, and roofing materials with solar reflectivity like metal, help with this problem. 

Essentially, they reflect as much of the sun’s light as possible. This keeps your roof from absorbing the heat from those rays and helps keep your home at a stable temperature as well. 

While cool roof materials might cost a little bit more upfront, they can do wonders to reduce your environmental footprint, and they can save you quite a bit on those air conditioning bills in the summer. 

Energy Efficient Skylights

Skylights can actually help boost the energy efficiency of your roof design (we’ll get to that next), but it’s important to invest in the right ones. Not all skylights are created equal, and choosing a brand that’s not tested and approved to be energy efficient could be a mistake. 

First and foremost, low-quality skylights can lead to serious leaks in your roof. It’s always a good idea to choose quality skylights that your roofer can install. While there are others who can install skylights, a roofer has the knowledge and expertise to ensure that your skylights are installed in a way that will prevent leaks in the future. 

Additionally, high-quality skylights can increase the energy efficiency of your home. With thick double or triple-pane glass, you don’t have to worry about heat escaping through your skylights in the winter, or causing your home to be unbearably hot in the winter. 

Smart Design

If you’re planning an energy efficient home, it’s always good to talk to an architect or designer who is familiar with energy efficient design. They can help you develop a home and roof design that maximizes heat in the winter and minimizes it in the summer. 

Remember those skylights we just talked about? 

When placed on a south-facing side of a roof in a cool climate, skylights can help keep a home warm through the winter. A home designer with experience building homes for energy efficiency can help you orient your home and roof to get the very best out of your home in every season. A great roofer will work with your designer to consult and ensure you’re getting the very best, most energy efficient roof on the market.  

If you’re building an energy efficient home, and need an energy efficient roofing system to go with it, Werner Roofing can help. We partner with the finest roofing material suppliers on the market and can help you design and build a roof that’s energy efficient and looks great for years to come. Give us a call at 616-844-5382, or contact us online for your free roofing estimate today!

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