I am not a roofing expert, but I’ve been following tech developments on eco-friendly, energy efficient roofing options. Here is some very useful information about the benefits of installing a metal roof, rather than one composed of shingles, slate, or concrete, sponsored by Global Home, Inc., a company that installs energy-efficient metal roofs. The author, Paul Kazloff, who blogs for Global Home, argues that metal roofs are much more energy-efficient than asphalt shingles, a perspective shared by HowStuffWorks.com, Angie’s List, and Green Building Advisor.
Should your roof be made of metal, or asphalt shingles? Both options have their strong selling points, but the superiority of energy-efficient metal roofs argues in their favor. Here’s why:
- Reduce Energy Spending Year-Round with Energy-Efficient Metal Roofs
When people ask about the energy efficiency of a roofing product, what they are really asking is whether a particular roofing solution will help them save money on heating and cooling costs. Reducing your energy bills is a reasonable concern. According to Energy.gov, the majority of American homes use 48% of their energy on heating and cooling, one of the largest expenses for most homeowners by far.
According to the Florida Solar Energy Center, asphalt shingles allow heat to easily transfer from the roof surface into the structure, potentially increasing indoor temperatures by as much as 20 to 25 degrees. In the research, one classroom studied experienced a 25°F decrease in plenum temperatures and a 33% decrease in cooling energy use after the gray asphalt shingle roof was replaced by a white metal roof.
2) Work in Hot or Cold Climates, and Wet or Dry
When comparing asphalt shingles and metal roofs, Diffen.com claims that metal roofs are extremely versatile and perfect for all climates: hot or cold and wet or dry. Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, will work best in temperate climates because they are known to absorb a lot of heat in the summer. (DM note: If you’re buying a new roof and live in a cold climate, check to ensure that your roofing material is designed for the weather you’re likely to experience.)
3) Weight Matters: The Lighter Material Wins
While weight may not be the first thing that comes to mind when energy efficiency is concerned, lighter materials have proven to lose heat faster. According to Sustainability Workshop, lightweight translates to having fewer molecules to store up energy (less thermal mass) and higher insulating tendency. Metal roofs weigh approximately 1.4 pounds per square foot, while asphalt shingles average 2 to 5 pounds per square. The metal will cool down at a faster rate than its asphalt counterpart. As Metal Roof Net points out, heavier materials like slate, concrete, or shingles will retain heat much longer. “The longer they stay hot, the more heat they’ll transfer to the building beneath.”
The fact that asphalt shingles weigh two to three times more than a metal roof means that they are going to accumulate at least two to three times as much heat, observes Metal Roof Net in their article titled “Insulation Value Difference — Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles.”
In addition, metal roofs can be finished with a heat-reflective ENERGYSTAR coating to further their energy efficiency. White-painted metal roofs, for example, have the highest reflectance value to keep solar heat away from your home.
As How Stuff Work.com concurs, metal roofs that are equipped with ENERGYSTAR reflectance coating can “reflect the sun’s heat away from a building, leading to energy savings of about 50 percent.” Oftentimes, the coating can make the roof surface to be about 100 degrees cooler than on a traditional asphalt roof.
DM Note: If you’re re-roofing your home, consider roofing material when you’re figuring out how to maximize energy efficiency. EPA’s ENERGYSTAR program offers this excellent guide that will help you choose a “cool” roof.
Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement blog and strives to educate people about “green” products such as metal roofing and solar energy systems. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.
Images provided by Global Home, Inc.
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