How can your roof lower your utility bills?
How energy efficient is your house? Which parts of your house leak energy the most? The majority of people would say doors and windows which typically are the sources of most air leaks. However, if you carry a do-it-yourself home energy audit, you might be surprised to find out that roofs are oftentimes leaking energy as much as doors and windows. Not only do roof air leaks severely affect the durability of a house, excessive air flow can also carry moisture into the framing cavities which, in turn, causes mold and rot.
Also, if the weather in your area is very cold and windy, there is a possibility of too much air entering the house if your roof is inadequate. If you live in a warmer climate, deficient roof could mean that not enough air is entering the house thus resulting in a very poor air quality inside. Either way poorly insulated or maintained roof will always be a high energy loss point.
And this is not the worst downside of bad roofing…. A low-efficiency roof will wreak havoc on your utility bills particularly when you consider the fact that half of the money you spend on your utility bills goes towards heating or air-conditioning of your home. Your roof is the first line of defense against summer heat or bitter cold.
So, what is the remedy? How can a good roof save you money while keeping your warm or cool? There are quite a few solutions that are both efficient and cost-effective. Some might even come as a surprise to you.
Choose the color of your roof accordingly – The color of your roof is probably not at the top of your agenda when building or buying a house. Well, you might reconsider this when you hear the results of a study conducted by Queensland University of Technology. The study shows that painting your roof with a special white paint reflects 88% of the Sun’s energy which can save you up to 30% on your air-conditioning bill. Just like wearing light-colored clothes during the summer will keep you cool, the so-called cool roof will absorb much less heat than a black or a gray one. Additionally, lower roof temperature will extend the lifespan of the roof itself.
Green roof – If your house has a shallow-pit or flat roof, the most energy-efficient thing you can do for it is to turn your roof green, meaning transforming it into a lawn or even a plant garden. This is an excellent eco-friendly solution which offers good sound insulation and heat & water absorption. Having a green roof is an intelligent long-term investment which will not only save you money but also boost the resale value of your home.
Solar power system – Your electricity bill will thank you if you install solar photovoltaic panels on your roof. Again, using solar power to generate electricity will not only cut down on your utility bills but will also feed any unused energy back into your power grid. In summer, solar roofs can substantially reduce peak energy costs. It is worth noting that certain countries even offer financial assistance (in the form of the renewable energy certificates) if you convert to solar generated power.
Roof insulation – The general rule of thumb is thicker the insulation, more energy you will save. A properly insulated home can have a drastic impact on your utility bills. Bear in mind that roof insulation can contribute up to 25% to your energy costs. Of course, the thickness and the type of insulation are determined by your geographic location and the local weather conditions. As far as the type of the insulation goes, it can range from fiberglass and cotton batting to closed cell-foam and cellulose. Remember, when it comes to insulation and choosing the roof material, there is no one-solution-fits-all.
These are some solutions to consider if you want to have a high-efficiency / low-cost roof. The benefits of investing in an energy-efficient roof are many – from reducing utility bills and decreasing air-conditioning / heating needs to improving indoor comfort and ultimately benefiting the environment. Even minor changes to your roof can make a big difference to your family’s budget. So, take care of your roof before the utility bills go through the roof.