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How Much Can You Save With A Cool Roof?


Today’s society is going green in a big way, and the construction industry is a big part of helping America to become more environmentally friendly. Cool roofing options are the perfect way to improve air quality, reduce utility usage, and have the least amount of environmental impact on things like rainfall percentage, wind patterns, and cloud development. All of that is fantastic, and a marvel in and of itself, but the point of what you are reading is not to go on and on about how eco-friendly these roofs are. Let’s address the question that will have the largest impact on whether or not someone actually chooses to purchases on of these roofs – “How much money can I actually save?”

A quick Google search will yield a savings calculator that can help you determine if the purchase is worth it, like this one here. Utilizing this tool, here is an example of just how much cash a home owner can expect to save.

Getting Started

After clicking the link, you will be taken to the homepage for this .gov calculator. A quick introduction explains the technology that goes into the calculations, such as AtticSim and the DOE-2.1E engine, and that the estimations will only be relevant to homes with a heating or cooling unit. That’s where the bulk of your savings will be, in those two utilities. The first option to choose from is whether you are calculating savings on a residential or commercial property. For this example, residential has been chosen.

Your Building


The next step will have you enter information about your building. The first is to pick the closest location in your state to help determine the most accurate weather. In this case, that city is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Next is the building type. While residential was chosen in the previous step, you can also pick from office, warehouse, or box store. Afterwards, choose the amount of square feet, number of floors, window to wall ratio, and year of construction. Most of these boxes will be filled out with an average number if you are unsure about the exact specifications. This house is two stories and 2,679sq-ft, built after 1990.

Heating and Cooling

After entering your home’s information, you will be asked a few questions about your HVAC equipment. Again, if you are unsure about any information then the boxes have been filled with average statistics for you to use. The house for this example has a natural gas furnace, both systems work at mid-level efficiency.

The Roof


The next section will have you choose a few options for your roof, and already has the cool roof comparison filled out for you. If you are unsure about what some of the terms may be, or which you have, the calculator has a neat feature that allows you to hold the mouse over the bold title in each section to get some information on it. The house we are looking at has an asphalt shingle roof which averages a solar reflectance of around 10%, no above sheathing ventilation or radiant barrier, R-7 insulation, and holds it’s ducts in the attic. All pretty standard for a suburb of Pittsburgh.

Now for the fun part! Select the features you want for your new roof and hit the calculate button. Everyone has a different budget, so this example will have everything set to a mid-price range. That means a painted steel metal roof which has about a 60% solar reflectance rating, low slope, R-38 insulation from the local hardware store (Home Depot), the same duct information, and a little bit of a splurge on a radiant treatment. Being as this is all being installed, the duck leakage will have been inspected.

The Results

It will take a moment for the system to run its simulations, but afterwards you will be taken to a page that says Simulation Results. With the information we’ve put in for the example, we’ve saved $71 on energy costs yearly, dropping out kWH usage by 157 for cooling and 453 for heating. The real savings come from not having to run our HVAC units so often with exactly 157% savings in cooling costs and just shy of 453% savings in heating costs. Wow! The charts on this page explain those savings in more detail, as well.

What Does That Mean for You?


The example house is an average five-person family home in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, an area with pretty moderate temperatures all year round. Based on your home and location, you stand to save a whole lot more. Homes in Arizona have seen the cost to cool their homes drop by up to $350 a month, and companies with commercial buildings stand to save even more regardless of location. The total amount of savings in the US has reached an annual $1 Billion dollars in the public sector alone! So, yes, cool roofing options are the environmentally friendly solution, but they are also one of the best money saving solutions for your home or business. How much do you stand to save? Use the calculator to find out!

Get started today

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