5 Energy-Efficient Roof Options You Should Consider


Last Updated: June 19th, 2023

Guest Post by Cristina Miguelez

Are most of your energy bills going towards heating and cooling your home? You might want to consider swapping out your old roof for an energy-efficient one. Roofing can have a huge impact on your energy consumption, and installing an energy-efficient roof is a great solution if you’re looking to reduce your consumption and cut down on your utility bills.

Plus, it's a great investment to make in conjunction with solar, as it can be inconvenient and costly to remove solar panels and re-install them in order to replace a roof during solar's 25-year-plus life span. 

Energy-efficient roofs use reflective materials that emit the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere instead of absorbing it into your home. And, although insulation and ventilation systems also play an important role in your roofing system’s energy efficiency, the material of your roof will ultimately be key to reducing your indoor temperature.

You have several options, so in this article we’ll explore five energy-efficient roof options and their costs to help you make the right decision for your property.

Cool roofs

Cool roofs are considered one of the most energy-efficient roofs. They consist of light-colored shingles, tiles, or coatings designed to reflect more sunlight than traditional roofs and therefore reduce the heat flow from the roof into your home. 

If you live in a hot climate where air conditioning is a must, having a cool roof can be a real game-changer. However, if you live in a colder region and need a lot of extra heating throughout the year, the savings you get from cooling might not be enough to cover the increased heating costs your cool roof might cause. So it's not always the best option in those areas.

You have a few options to choose from in terms of design and budget. When it comes to the cost, installing a cool roof is often similar to or slightly more than the cost to install a regular roof, which is $24,000 on average.

For example, if instead of installing traditional asphalt shingles you opt for cool roof shingles, it will cost you around $6–$7 per square foot, while if you opt for a cool metal roof, expect the price to run at $9–$10.

If your roof is in good condition or you don't want to replace the entire thing, some roof options are suitable to apply a cool roof coating, which saves you the trouble and can reduce up to 30 percent of your cooling costs.

Metal roofs

Metal roofs are pretty amazing when it comes to energy efficiency and durability, which is probably why they’re an increasingly popular choice among homeowners seeking long-term cost savings. Metal roofs with lighter colors can reflect up to 70 percent of the sun's heat, so your home stays cooler without needing to crank up the AC as much.

The downside of metal roofs is that, compared to other roof materials, they can be costly upfront because of the installation and specialized labor involved. On average, it can cost you anywhere between $12,000 and $22,000. Apart from being one of the most sustainable options, metal roofs are very sturdy, so you’d also be saving on repairs and maintenance throughout the years.

Red roof

Clay tiles

If you’re looking to blend energy efficiency and aesthetics, clay tiles are the way to go. These tiles are made from natural materials and are installed so that they overlap with each other, creating channels above the roof. These channels allow air to circulate, which serves as both extra insulation and a way for hot air to escape before it enters your home. Clay tiles are also known for their very long lifespan, since they usually last several decades when maintained properly. 

The cost to install a clay tile roof typically ranges between $19,000 and $35,000. But despite their costs, clay tile roofs are a great investment for those looking for long-term savings and to reduce their reliance on air conditioning without compromising on aesthetic appeal.

Green roofs

Also known as living roofs, green roofs are vegetated roofing systems that use living plants and soil instead of traditional roofing materials. Not only are they nice to look at, but they can also significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs and provide excellent stormwater management. They have proven to effectively reduce heat islands in cities.

If this roof sounds ideal, you should note that green roofs are particularly difficult to install due to their complexity. You’ll also need an irrigation system to keep the plants in good condition. The cost to install a green roof can run up to $70,000 depending on the size of the home, making them one of the most expensive options. 

Solar shingles

Solar shingles are a perfect choice for those who want to harness solar energy but aren't fans of the look of traditional solar panels, since they seamlessly integrate photovoltaic panels into the roof’s existing structure, blending in with your existing roof or functioning as a solar roof.

Solar shingles are the only energy-efficient roofing option that actually generates electricity. However, they’re not quite as efficient as solar panels and they can cost you more than a regular roof replacement including solar panels.

On the bright side, tax credits and rebates are often available for those who opt for solar roofs, which can help offset the initial cost of around $48,000 to install one. 

Choosing the right roof for your home

When it comes to choosing a roofing material for your home, it’s best to consult with a professional as their expertise can help you understand what your home will benefit from the most in terms of energy efficiency. 

As well as minimizing the environmental footprint of your home, an energy-efficient roof can play a big role in reducing your energy consumption, lowering utility bills, and creating a comfortable living space.

Cristina Miguelez is a remodeling specialist at Fixr, a platform that connects consumers with service professionals in their area and estimates the cost for remodeling projects. She writes about home improvement tips and trends to help homeowners make better remodeling decisions.

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