No doubt about it, there are a variety of ways to make your home energy-efficient. One of the best is to install an eco-friendly roof. For many years, energy experts have talked about the benefits of green roofs, white roofs, and solar roofs. Finally, their words seem to have sunk in; almost everyone is in agreement that black roofs need to be replaced. Environmentally -friendly roofs can decrease energy consumption significantly depending on where they are installed. If you’ve been thinking about installing one, read more about the three roofs before you make up your mind.
Need an Eco-Friendly Roof? Choose Between Green, White and Solar
Green roofs, also known as living roofs, are roofs that are partially or entirely covered with vegetation. They offer shade and rid the air of heat through evapotranspiration. They lower the roof surface temperature and that of the surrounding air. During hot days, the surface temperature of green roofs is cooler than the air temperature. On such days, the surface temperature of traditional rooftops can be 90⁰F warmer than the air temperature.
Image via: Architizer
Green roofs offer a host of benefits. They provide insulation, absorb rainwater, create an environment for wildlife, and provide an aesthetically pleasing landscape that reduces stress. They also decrease city air temperatures and alleviate the heat island effect. The heat island effect is a city or urban area that is considerably warmer than its adjacent rural areas because of human activities. Green roofs make use of the natural functions of plants to treat air and filter water in urban areas. They lower both heating and cooling costs.
The great thing about green roofs is that they can be installed on different types of buildings – from private homes to industrial facilities. Some are made up of simple vegetation while others are comprised of fully equipped parks.
If there is one thing black roofs are good at, it is trapping heat. They heat houses in warm weather and waste lots of energy in the process. A lot of rooftops in the US are made with tar and absorb plenty of heat during the warm seasons. Coating these roofs with a solar-reflective paint helps decrease temperatures both indoors and out. White roofs, also referred to as reflective roofs, have been around for a long time. They are ideal for eco-conscious homeowners as they are better than black roofs which only reflect 20% of sunlight. Their solar-reflective white coats enable them to reflect up to 90% of sunlight.
Image via: Vang Viet
White roofs rely on the age-old principle that white items soak up less heat than dark ones. They lower air conditioning costs by about 20% in hot weather. Reduced energy consumption means fewer carbon dioxide emissions. A white roof costs approximately 15% more than a dark one – depending on the materials you use – but slashes your electricity bills. Some local utilities and state energy offices offer financing for white roofs and homeowners can get tax credits if the roofing materials they use adhere to the EPA’s Energy Star program. The only downside of white roofs is that they are not ideal for cold climates as they can increase heating requirements during the cold seasons.
What could be better than using free electricity from the sun? The dream of every homeowner is to lower their energy bills, and a solar roof helps you do just that. The sun exudes about 1,000 energy watts for each square meter of the earth’s surface. If all this energy was collected, homes and offices could be powered for free. Solar roofs are usually fitted with solar panels or shingles which convert the sun’s energy into electricity. The panels and shingles are made up of special materials called semiconductors which absorb light and emit electrons which are put into an electric current.
Image via: I Green Spot
Solar roofs are the most popular eco-friendly roofs – and with good reason. They can be installed on any building as long as there is enough space and sun. A solar roof can decrease your energy consumption and lower your high power bills. Solar panels are very durable and last for more than 25 years. They are light in weight and require little maintenance. A solar roof augments the value of your home, reduces your carbon footprint, and saves you money for years to come. The US federal government and a number of states give tax credits to sustainable energy systems. You might also get incentives from your utility company.
When white, green, and solar roofs are pitted against each other, solar roofs take the top spot. Green roofs take the second spot and white roofs come in third. While all three roof types are becoming increasingly popular, it is important to choose the right eco-friendly roof for your location. Both green and white roofs perform an excellent job at cooling buildings, but solar roofs are more effective at defying climate change.
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