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:
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.
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!