Southern California is known for its warm, balmy summers. Air conditioning is practically a necessity and can sometimes cause energy bills to spike during the warm summer months. Your air conditioning has to work extra hard to keep your home cool when outside temperatures rise and the sun beats down with its intense rays.
Is there any way to get some relief?
You can actually have some control over how hot your home will get in the summer. Aside from air conditioning, you can alter the exterior of your home so that it absorbs less heat. Many homes favor lighter colors for this reason, but the roof is often left out. Dark colored roofs seem to be the norm. But, just like a white t-shirt can keep you cooler than a black t-shirt on a warm day, so can a light-colored roof.
What is Different about a Light-Colored Roof?
While darker colored roofs absorb the rays of the sun, and with it, heat. On the other hand lighter colored roofs reflect away the sun’s rays and heat. This basically means that a house with a light-colored roof is naturally cooler than a house with a dark-colored roof. As a result, less energy is spent on air conditioning and cooling, giving you relief from the heat and high energy bills.
Of course, things aren’t so simple. Other factors play into how cool your house can be naturally, without your air conditioning on full-blast. For example, the material used for your roofing has a big role to play in how warm the rest of the house will be. Asphalt shingles are less reflective than other materials such as rubber and metal.
Insulation also has a role to play. While we often only think of how insulation helps keep our homes warm in the winter, it also keeps cool air inside. The amount of insulation in your attic can prevent the hot air from entering the rest of your home.
Finally, while light colored roofs are favored in the summer months, darker roofs have the opposite effect in the winter, when you want to keep your home warm. However, in southern California, heating costs are usually much less of a concern than air conditioning costs. We spend much more of the year trying to keep cool than warm. So chances are for most homeowners, if choosing to invest in lowering energy bills, it’s most practical to focus on reducing cooling costs.
The idea that light roofs keep homes cooler is fairly easy to follow and makes sense. But, because of the technicalities involved with differing materials that can be used in roofing and the variables related to insulation, it’s also interesting to see what research that has been done on this topic shows.
The Florida Solar Energy Center did an interesting study which compared different roofing types in houses that met certain parameters for insulation and location. The results showed that choosing reflective white roofing gained homeowners between 19 and 24% cooling energy reduction. Even terracotta tile achieved a reduction in costs of 8-11%. Both of these figures are meant to be compared with traditional gray asphalt roof shingles.
While the upfront costs of redoing your roof may seem steep, you’ll reap the benefits over the course of time. The environmental benefits of reducing energy usage must not be forgotten either.
Ready to make your home more energy efficient? For homeowners in Southern California, changing your roof color is a great place to start.
Tom Byer Roofing is a reputable company with experience serving Orange County. Contact us today with all of your roofing enquiries!