A Concise Guide to the Most Energy Efficient Roofing Materials

energy efficent roofing

Energy Star certified roof products can help mitigate cooling expenses that currently cost Americans over $40 billion per year. When your roof gets hot not only does the temperature skyrocket, but energy prices soar.

We compare it to standing on a blacktop driveway in the summer.

The black surface absorbs the sun’s rays and ultimately converts them into heat energy which warms up your driveway. And if you’ve ever walked across your driveway barefoot, you’ll know just how much heat energy gets created.

Your home’s roof works the same way. The dark surface (usually shingles) absorbs U/V light and converts the sun’s rays into heat energy. That heat then warms your home’s roof far more than you probably realize.

Essentially, the wrong type of roofing material turns your home’s roof into an extreme heat blanket. The heat radiates into your home which makes the air conditioning run longer and thus contributes to our collective $40 billion per year in cooling expenses.

Energy-efficient roofing products change the entire equation. Instead of absorbing heat these materials reflect it back into the sky, sometimes lowering your roof’s temperature by up to 50F.

So to help you reap those benefits we’re breaking down a concise guide to the most energy-efficient roofing materials on the market.

Energy Efficient Roofing 101

Energy-efficient roofing covers a wide variety of building materials, ranging from specialized shingles to metal roofing. Though which material you choose should depend on your unique situation and personal preference.

For instance, different materials work better in different climates (more on that later). The popular materials commonly used include:

  • Shake Shingles
  • Slate Roofing
  • Metal Roofing
  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Tile Roofing

Each option varies in semantic things like color, brand, etc. But what they all do have in common, is an Energy Star certification.

Energy Star Certification

Roofing materials that qualify for Energy Star certification status need to meet several criteria that determine just how energy efficient the material is both when it’s brand new and also several years down the line.

For instance, low sloped roofs must have an initial solar reflectance of >= 0.65. After three years that reflectance must stay >= 0.50. Likewise, steeply sloped roofs must have an initial solar reflectance of >= 0.25, and a 3-year reflectance of >= 0.15.

Ensure that any materials you’re purchasing meet these standards and have the Energy Star label.

Shake Shingles

Shake shingles are a wooden roofing material used to create rustic looking roofs. Their tapered design helps them withstand strong winds and storms with little damage, and also helps shed rain.

These shingles absorb less heat than many of their brethren and also allow for improved airflow over other options. Light color choices allow shake shingles to better reflect the sun’s rays.

Though shake shingles aren’t the best option in humid environments. The wooden shingles absorb humidity from the air which can cause rot and mildew problems.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the “normal” roofing materials in many parts of the country. They hold up well against humidity but don’t “breathe” as well as shake shingles. Though they do tend to last longer than their wooden counterparts.

In terms of energy efficiency, lighter colored asphalt shingles do reflect the sun’s rays. However, asphalt also gets hotter than wood. Think back to our driveway example for reference.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is the premier option among energy-efficient roofing materials. The material is relatively cheap, easy to install, durable, and excellent at reflecting U/V rays. Plus, its natural light color keeps it from holding too much heat.

Choosing metal roofing is important if you’re interested in maximum energy efficiency. Energy Star options efficiently reflect light thanks to metal’s natural properties.

Tile Roofing

Tile roofing material is generally made from slate, clay, or concrete; all of which don’t absorb much sunlight. They do absorb more light than metal roofs but offer more durability.

Though tile roofing shines for its ability for use in conjunction with roof coating treatments. Put simply, tiles get treated with a reflective coating that helps reflect sunlight.

Older tile roofs can also benefit from another application of a reflective coating.

Choosing a Roofing Material

Choosing the correct roofing material for your situation means looking at your climate and preference. For instance, metal roofing saves more money in sunny climates than in cloudy areas.

Climate and Material

Shake Shingles: Best for dry environments with high levels of sunlight. Avoid humid areas or areas of heavy rain.

Asphalt Shingles: Best for those looking for a budget option that can take a beating. An upshot for those in warmer areas is that they don’t degrade in humid climates.

Metal Roofing: Best for sunny, hot climates with any levels of humidity. Not good for areas with frequent hail storms (Denver area, for instance).

Tile Roofing: Good for sunny areas and those with high humidity. Durable against hail but less durable overall than metal roofing. Effectively reflects the sun when covered with a reflective coating.

Preference and Where to Buy

Depending on your climate, you might have the choice between several different viable energy-efficient roofing materials. If that’s the case, you can choose whichever you’d like based on your personal preference.

You’re in charge of balancing energy saving with your preferred aesthetic.

Though we still recommend consulting an expert for all of your roofing needs. No one knows better than the people who roof day in and day out.

So if you’re in the market for a new energy-efficient roof, get in contact with us. Our experts can help you find the best roofing material for your specific needs.

Texas is a big state, meaning roofing needs vary. Let us help you get on the right track today.