Everyday we get the same question as soon as we mention energy star efficient roofing. “Why would I want that? It’s not going to help in the winter!” Energy star rated products other wise known as Cool Roofs come in many shapes and styles but a common theme is that they are light and reflective. As a result they absorb less heat than a traditional dark colored roof system. In a warm climate the benefits of a cool roof system are pretty obvious but here in the mid atlantic and further north not so much.
On a hot summer day in the middle of July it’s pretty hard to find anyone who would deny the benefit of having a cool roof system. A cool roof reflects heat from the sun away from the building significantly lowering the temperature of the roof system and with it the internal temperature of the building. During the heat of the summer a cooler building requires less air conditioning resulting in lower energy costs.
Things become a little fuzzier on a day like today when it’s 10 degrees in the middle of February. If we reflect the heat from the sun away from the building on a cold day aren’t we increasing the cost of heating the building? The easy answer is yes but it shouldn’t be the end of the conversation. Even in a cool climate where heating days outnumber cooling days it can still be beneficial to have an energy star efficient roof system.
There are several factors that play into why it is still beneficial to install a cool roof system in a cool climate. The first factor we need to look at is the cost of cooling versus the cost of heating. The cost to cool a building is much higher than the cost to heat the same building. Prices go up as demand increases and the demand for energy is much higher on a hot summer day than it will ever be in the winter. Even though you may use the same amount of energy in the winter your costs will still be lower.
The second factor is the position of the sun in the summer. In the middle of the summer the sun is at its highest point. This means that the sun is at its strongest and the days are longer than in winter. This increases the amount of energy available to be absorbed in the summer.
The third factor is that your roofing system is not exposed to the sun nearly as much in the winter as it is in the summer. This is due to the fact that the ratio of cloudy days to clear days increases during the winter. While in some parts of the country snow can cover your roof area almost all winter long. Leaving minimal amounts of energy to be absorbed during the winter months as compared to the heat of the summer.
Lastly we should all consider the impact that our choice of roofing products has on the environment around us. When we fail to look past our own roofing system we can make crucial mistakes that affect our energy costs. This is due to what is know as the heat island effect, which is a phenomenon occurring in major cities across the country where temperatures are significantly higher than surrounding suburbs. This is a result of almost all buildings and streets being covered in dark asphaltic materials that absorb the heat from the sun and raise the air temperature around them. It has been proven that if we replace all dark roof systems with new energy star efficient roofs we could significantly lower the temperatures of entire cities. Thus lowering the energy costs of entire cities by tens of millions of dollars a year.
At Weather-Tite Roofing Co we try to help our clients see the whole picture when investing their money in a new roof system. You get what you pay for and cheaper isn’t always better. In order to truly understand the real cost of a roof system you need to understand the long term cost and benefits beyond the initial up front payment. With any assessment of your roof system we will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision while finding a product that works within your budget.
If you would like anymore information about our energy star efficient roofing products please visit our site at Go Green Philly or call us at (215) 425-3466.