Originally posted on February 11, 2020 @ 1:00 pm
If you are keen on saving energy both at home and at work, then you need to turn your attention to all the surfaces that energy, mostly heat, is lost through. These are the doors, windows, walls, the floor and last but not least, the roof. This surface is the hardest to insulate in a proper way because it takes a constant battering from the elements, whether it’s a hailstorm or the scorching summer sun. The type of roofing you chose to install can have a huge impact on the energy efficiency of the structure below sop familiarize with the most common roofing option that will save you both money and energy.
The most common type of roof cover that you can encounter in nearly every residential quarter in the world are tiled roofs. The roof is covered by overlapping tiles that are made in the safe way bricks are: by exposure to high temperatures. The end result is a sturdy design that acts as an insulator but it is not bulletproof. During the aforementioned hailstorm, tiles made from terracotta can break, thus forcing you to spend money on repairing the roof.
However, most tiles come with a reflective layer that makes them ideal for places with warmer climates with a lot of sunny days, like Australia. In case you have ever wondered why the majority of tiles are painted orange, it is not because it’s a popular color but because of the manufacturing process and the fact that lighter colors are better at reflecting sunlight.
You might think that roofs made from metal are not a good solution because metal can get red hot if exposed to punishing heat and sun. This is true for metal in general but the metal that goes on the top of your house is factory treated with a reflective coating that gives it the same properties as tiles. Also, metals like aluminium or copper are light in color (and some in weight) so they are actually pretty good at reflecting sunlight. Because they are inexpensive, they are an ideal solution for commercial roofing when large buildings need a roof, like halls and warehouses.
So how does a “cool roof” work?
Whichever type of roofing you choose in the end, it will need to have all the traits to constitute a “cool roof.” The biggest advantage of these roofs is their ability to reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them, causing the air temperature in the object below to rise. This is achieved by the careful selection of the color scheme, the material of the roof, and the type of covering (shingles or tiles).
The ultimate goal is to have a roof that will reflect more than two-thirds of the sun’s rays, ensuring the home or business building underneath does not heat up. This is especially important in places like Australia where temperatures can reach mind-whopping 50° Centigrade. That is why professional roofers in Sydney mostly receive requests for roofs that are well-insulated, regardless of the material.
As we have mentioned earlier, color is the final piece of the puzzle that makes a “cool roof.” Dark colors are excellent at absorbing heat, which is the fact opposite of the effect you wish to achieve. If the air inside starts to heat up, then the AC will have to be cranked up to the max, wasting energy and costing you more money in the end. Whether you install insulation under the structure of the roof or apply a reflective coat on the surface of the roof, it should isolate your house from the outside elements.
Flat roofs and solar panels
Another type of roofing that is popular for office high-rises and other commercial objects are flat roofs. They aren’t’ extensively used in residential buildings but when they are on top houses, flat roofs are indicators of opulence. Business owners like to use them when erecting their commercial structures because they provide extra space that can be used for storage purposes, AC and vent outdoor units, and parking lots.
In terms of energy efficiency, they are suitable for the installation of solar panels that create electricity without leaving a huge environmental footprint as burning coal does. The cost of the initial investment is quite high but solar panels are not an instant solution, as they are an investment for the future. If you decorate the flat roof of your office with them, then that’s a clear signpost to your clients that you have long-term business plans.
In terms of structural design, the most important feature of a flat roof is water tightness because it’s harder to pour down from them due to the lack of a natural incline. However, poor drainage can be used for irrigation if you plant (not erect) a “living roof. “ Green roofs are the most eco-friendly roofing option you can get, like plants, shrubs, and flowers on top of your house or office building will keep the area cool, produce plenty of oxygen, and make an excellent decoration if the roof is low enough.
Home or business energy efficiency begins with the roof. The material you choose to cover the structure, its color and the ability to reflect sun’s rays will account for a major save in your budget and the environment will remain protected.