With winter utility bills still
fresh in their minds, many homeowners
are looking forward to warmer weather
with mixed emotions.While they're
eagerly anticipating relief from heating
costs, they're also concerned about the
alternative " the cost of keeping their
homes cool during the summer months.
Fortunately, innovative new roofing
technologies are now available, which
can dramatically reduce the amount of
energy needed to cool your home
during the summer.The result can be
as much as a 20-percent reduction in
air-conditioning costs.What's more, since
these energy-saving roofs are made of
metal, they are also extremely durable,
lightweight, and resistant to most natural
hazards such as fire, wind and hail.
These energy-saving metal roofing
systems use advanced "cool roof"
pigments, which greatly increase the
reflectivity of the painted metal roof
surface. Cool roofs reflect a greater
amount of the sun's infrared
wavelengths, which account for more
than half of the solar energy striking the
Most painted metal roofs reflect about
5 to 20 percent of this energy, but
cool-roof coatings can increase this
reflectance level to nearly 60 percent.
The difference in temperature can be
very dramatic, especially in medium to
darker colors.Yet since infrared energy is
invisible, the roof color is unaffected.
"When less heat penetrates the roof,
the attic remains cooler and, in turn, the
amount of summer heat leaking into the
air-conditioned space is reduced,"
explained Tony Chiovare, president of
Custom-Bilt Metals. His company was
one of the first manufacturers to
incorporate cool roof technology in its
metal shingles, metal shakes and
standing seam metal roofing products.
Cool roof technologies have been the
subject of years of field tests by
researchers from Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory and the Department
of Energy's Oak Ridge National
Laboratory. For example, in one recent
demonstration project, metal shakes
coated with Custom-Bilt Metals'TITAN®
Cool Roof finish were found to reduce
the amount of heat penetrating into a
home's attic by as much as 36 percent,
offering significant savings in the energy
required to cool the home."The energy
savings have attracted the attention of
builders, utilities, regulatory authorities
and building code officials. Several years
ago, the federal Energy Star® program
was even expanded to include roofing
products that meet or exceed minimum
solar reflectance standards.And now
homeowners could save even more with
tax incentives provided under the new
Energy Bill that passed a number of
months ago," Chiovare said.
Cool roofs are also recognized by the
newly revised California Code of
Regulations. It establishes minimum levels
of solar roof reflectance for construction
in California, depending on the building's
use, design and climate zone.
Beyond immediate energy savings, cool
roof technology also contributes to longterm
cost savings by increasing the life
expectancy of the roof, Chiovare added.
Because less heat is absorbed, the roof
surface undergoes less expansion and
contraction, which extends the roof life
and produces even more cost savings.
Best of all, the savings do not come at
the expense of aesthetic appeal. In
addition to standing seam metal roofs,
today's metal roofing can faithfully
replicate the appearance of virtually any
traditional roofing material, from wooden
shakes and shingles to slate and terra
cotta tile, Chiovare said. Other attractive
benefits include corrosion and fade
resistance, minimal maintenance and
exceptional resistance to wind, thanks to
innovative new designs that interlock
adjacent panels for added strength.
"All these traditional metal roofing
benefits are now enhanced by the energy
and cost-saving advantages offered by
cool roof finishes," Chiovare concluded.