How Energy Efficient Roofing Systems Help Lower Utility Bills
Everyone knows that it can get hot in the Summer. For many people, this leads to high utility bills because the air conditioner needs to be on almost constantly in order to battle the heat. However, there are some things that can help reduce this need for energy. The right choice in roofing makes a huge difference in the energy utilization of a home and there are several choices that can help a home be more efficient.
This is a fairly broad term that encompasses several different types of roofs. Cool roofs are those that are designed to reflect sunlight back rather than absorb it. This decreases the amount of heat energy that is absorbed into the system and keeps the space cooler naturally. It can also reduce energy bills for air conditioning and other home cooling systems.
The main disadvantage that cool roofs have is that they prevent heat gain year-round, including during the winter when gaining heat is appreciated. This can increase heating costs sharply in areas where it gets fairly cold. Some studies have shown that even in cold climates the savings during hot months financially outweigh the losses during cooler months.
Any roofing contractor that you hire should be aware of the existence of cool roofs. However, because there are many different types of cool roofs available, the contractor may or may not be well-versed in the technology any given individual is interested in. Contractors can usually give referrals for services that they themselves do not provide, though.
Many buildings all over the world have flat or nearly-flat rooftops. This type of roof allows the greatest use of indoor space and in some locations is used to add an additional area of use. Flat roofs may have trouble draining which has led to the invention and use of low-slope roofs which are nearly but not completely flat.
Some types of energy efficient roofing such as green roofs only work with low-slope or flat rooftops. Commercial low-slope roofs are often made of metal as this substance is more durable than tar or other traditional materials. PVC, which is a type of plastic, is another common flat or low-slope roofing material. Roofs made of thermoplastic PVC are considered cool roofs in that they reflect much more light than a tar roof can.
Steep Sloped Roofs
Although many roofs are too steeply sloped to be called low-slope roofs, truly steep roofs are fairly uncommon. Among other reasons, this is because roof repair on these steep slopes is difficult and most builders won’t create them. Even if a roofing contractor is willing to build a steep roof there are other reasons to avoid doing so.
For people who are set on having a steeply sloped roof, however, it can be made just as cool as its flatter cousins. Metal in cool colors is an attractive option for a steeply sloped roof and there are Energy Star qualified options available. For people who like the traditional look, there are also asphalt shingles that are Energy Star certified for creating cool roofs.
Some people have accidental green roofs but there has been a recent push towards purposeful ones. A green roof is one where plants are being purposefully grown or allowed to grow on it. These plants and the layer of soil between them and the roof help insulate the building and can reduce energy costs significantly.
Although there are traditional pitched green roofs in some parts of the world, American green roofs are almost entirely low-sloped or flat. Some are created with the addition of soil and seeds while others are allowed to collect these things naturally. All green roofs are built with a strong layer of waterproofing to protect the building from the frequently-damp soil.
Green roofs come in several varieties. One distinction is made based on the amount of vegetation grown. Intensive roofs require stronger support systems and more maintenance but can support more growth and are sometimes gardened on. Extensive roofs typically have only a thin layer of soil and small plants or mosses. They are accessed only for roof repair.
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