Did you know 75 percent of all homes in the United States have air conditioners? Or that air conditioners use roughly six percent of all electricity produced in the US, at an annual cost of $29 billion to homeowners? That is certainly a significant sum. Not only that, but around 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year, which is not great news for our environment. And sadly, much of that air conditioning is being wasted. Air leakage and poor insulation are two of the biggest culprits behind efficient heating and cooling in American homes. This is not good for your wallet or the planet.
The good news? Properly installed insulation works to inhibit the transfer of heat. In winter, it stops cold air from outdoors penetrating the inside of your house. Conversely, during summer, insulation helps trap cool, conditioned air inside the home while resisting the heat from outdoors. Insulation is one of the most important features of any energy efficient home.
One of the best forms of insulation is your roof. If your roof is old, it may not have modern roofing features that many manufacturers build their current roofs with, such as “cool” roofing options. Or, if your roof has missing shingles or has been battered and bruised over time from either age or adverse weather conditions, it is likely your roof is not working at its peak. That means whenever your air conditioning unit is on, whether that be in summer or winter, you are losing energy, and thus losing money. In this article, we will be discussing how a new roof can significantly reduce your energy costs, while making your home more comfortable year round.
Reducing Energy Bills with a New Roof
Energy Star Rating
When looking at installing a new roof, it is important to look out for its Energy Star rating. The Energy Star program helps promote the use of energy-efficient products and allows you, the consumer, to know how energy efficient a product is before you purchase it. Only roofing products that are highly reflective are given the Energy Star label. Reflective roofs can reflect enough of the sun's rays to lower the temperature on the surface of your roof by as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning you will need to use less of your air conditioning unit. It is also a good idea to pick your roofing material and color based on where you live. Light-colored roofs reflect heat and are good in warmer climates, while dark-colored roofs absorb heat and are better in cooler climates.
Invest in a Cool Roof
A cool roof reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Similar to how light-colored clothes keep you cooler on hot days, a cool roof does the same. Cool roofs have the benefit of reducing energy bills by decreasing air conditioning needs, improving the indoor comfort of your home, and they also decrease roof temperature, which can extend the life of your roof.
A New Roof Works Best with Adequate Insulation
While there is plenty of science out there that discusses the link between heat transfer and thermal exchange, all you need to know is in winter, heat escapes your home and in summer, it tries to invade your home. The role of insulation in all of this is to regulate the temperature inside your home, regardless of what is happening outside. Therefore, while a new roof, especially if it is a cool roof, will save you money on energy bills, to get the most bang for your buck, having adequate insulation throughout the rest of your home is key. With correctly installed insulation, you will find you need to use your heaters and fireplaces less in winter, and cool air during the summer. There are four standard types of insulation (blanket, polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foam, loose fill and rigid). The best one depends on your individual needs, which a WoW home improvement contractor can help you with via an in-home consultation.