What Is A Cool Roof – Does It Make Sense In Madison WI?


Cool Roof | Madison WI | Sims Exteriors & Remodeling
Modern, multi-facetted roof lines require skill and training to provide safe, efficient coverage for your home. The latest high-tech shingles not only look great but can take a chunk out of your monthly energy bill.

One of the most impressive advances in roofing technology is the creation of the “cool roof.” It goes without saying, these new roofing materials make Madison WI homes look good. But the coolest part relates to energy efficiency. Repeated studies show that about a third of the unwanted heat in a home comes in through the roof. Anywhere the sun shines that’s hard to control. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the new cool products for roofing as those designed to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard shingles.

In direct summer sunlight, a black roof’s surface can reach a temperature of 190°F. The new reflective materials reduce that by as much as 60°F.

Simply said, cool technology roofing products reflect more heat in summer, keeping the inside of your home cooler – and putting less stress on the AC.

How Does A Cool Roof Work In Winter

No matter where you travel you’ll notice that most roofs are dark-colored material. In the heat of the full sun they absorb a lot of heat. Transferring that heat into a home contributes to:

  • Increased energy costs, especially in the heat of summer
  • Reduced family comfort
  • Deterioration of roofing materials
  • Increased roof maintenance costs
  • More air pollution thanks to a “heat island” effect

In Wisconsin having a dark roof is usually considered a plus – it aids in melting snow and ice and absorbs heat in the coldest months. Do the benefits of a dark roof in winter overshadow the benefits of a lighter, cooler one in summer?

Cool Roof | Madison WI | Sims Exteriors & Remodeling
Taking advantage of new roofing products designed to help cool the structure doesn’t mean reducing your home’s curb appeal. Lighter colors and more textured is often more appealing than a solid black roof.

Studies accompanying the development of the new cool shingle technology show the penalties of higher summertime cooling costs outweigh the limited benefits in winter. The bottom line:  Some locations benefit more from a roof that helps to cool the home, but when everything is summed up, location doesn’t matter. It is more energy efficient almost anywhere.

Use the U. S. Department of Energy Cool Roofing calculator to estimate the impact of new technology for your Madison area home. The results are greater for areas with more direct sun for longer periods of time – Houston TX vs. Minneapolis – but savings are significant everywhere. For example, doing the math via the DOE calculator, an average home in Houston would save as much as $5,200 a year. With the same figures, a home in Minneapolis would save $2,600 a year. Not as good farther north, but still a significant savings. These figures hold true for buildings heated by natural gas and cooled by electrically-powered AC. They reflect the longer running times of AC and normally higher cost of electricity compared to gas.

What These  New Roofing Materials Look Like

Historically, if you wanted your roof to work as part of a cooling plan it had to be white or a very light color. That’s no longer true. Modern reflective shingle products from GAF and CertainTeed are EnergyStar® rated for solar reflectivity even in dark colors. The new products are increasing the durability of a new roof as well.

The pros and cons of a dark roof helping with heating during a Madison winter comes into perspective with an important fact: a black roof covered with half a foot of snow is, in effect, a white roof. Therefore any benefits of absorbing heat are lost for what might be an extended period. In summer, the black roof is a heat-absorbing sponge.

The new cool-technology shingles are available in a wide range of colors, shapes and textures. There’s no drop in style of curb appeal. Only you know you’ve added high-tech products to your home.

A word of warning:  your lifestyle and the overall efficiency of your heating/cooling systems dictate how much energy you save with any upgrade or change. Do not expect to recover the cost of installation and materials quickly. If you save $2,400 per year, that’s only $200 each month – significant for sure, but it will take years to completely cover the cost of new high-tech roof.

That said, many research models show the impact of solar energy on the roof of a building has serious effect on not only heating/cooling costs but wear and tear on shingles and the entire roofing system. And the potential for savings is real. What could it do for your home? You’ll only know by plugging in real numbers based on existing costs, etc.

Check Out A Cool Roof – Enlist The Help Of A Pro

The importance of a reliable information and access to the latest technology cannot be overstated. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling represents the industry’s leading developers of high-tech roofing products and systems. Its staff of skilled factory-trained roofing specialists is ready to walk you through all the options and discuss the latest colors, styles and materials available.

When it’s time to upgrade, repair or replace your roof, contact Sims Exteriors & Remodeling by email or by calling 608-825-4500. We’ll begin with an on-site inspection and evaluation. Following up with recommendations for the most efficient cool roof materials designed to protect your Madison WI area home.

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