Combining Energy Efficient Roofing With Photovoltaics
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Installing solar on a home is a great way to decrease power bills. However, if they are combined with an energy-efficient roof, it can maximize savings and environmental impact.
Although solar panels can be installed on just about any roofing material, some combine better with solar arrays than others. What sets these roofing materials apart from the rest is their ability to help keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The truth of the matter is that some roofing materials are more energy-efficient than others. Let’s have a look at five of the best energy-efficient roofing materials on the market today.
1. Energy Efficient Clay and Slate Roofing Tiles
Slate and clay are also known as green roofing materials. This is because they are naturally occurring and do not harm the environment. They also can help conserve energy.
Two factors increase roofing tiles’ energy efficiency. The first is that they are typically a lighter color which helps them reflect radiation from the sun.
A 10-year study done by the Florida Solar Energy Center found that white s-tiles conserve 20 percent more energy than asphalt shingles. Although the other tiles didn’t reflect as much heat, they still did better than traditional asphalt roofing. Terra cotta tiles were 3 percent cooler and the white flat tile made a 17 percent difference in temperature.
The other factor that contributes to energy efficiency is that they have a layer of air between the tiles and the roof. Because the tiles aren’t directly on the roof it takes longer for them to heat the home. This is why even the darker-colored terra cotta tiles were more efficient than asphalt shingles.
Tiles are perfect for all weather conditions, as they maintain the home’s indoor temperature throughout the year. Clay tiles, however, may not be suitable for snowy regions, as they may shatter due to heavy snowfall. Slate may be a better option for such regions as it is more durable than clay.
Solar Panels on Tile Roofs
Because solar panels have such a great ROI it makes sense to combine them with tile roofing. The roof reduces energy costs while the solar array replaces the energy source. Together they are able to decrease the carbon footprint and the cost of running the home significantly.
2. Boosting Solar With Green Roofs
Technically speaking, a green roof is not a material, but it is one of the best options if conserve energy is the goal. Green roofs are made of plants and grass on top of a preexisting flat roof.
These roofs can be hard to build and require the installation of a particular layer to allow for proper irrigation. They are, however, more durable than conventional roofs and also help save money.
They also serve as a decentralized, sustainable stormwater management system. Some governments even offer subsidies on green roofs, as they help the environment and reduce pollution.
Adding Solar to a Green Roof
It isn’t often that a green roof also has solar, but it isn’t impossible. In fact, The University of Illinois did a study to determine the cost-effectiveness of combining green roofs with solar.
This study found that combining these multi-purposing methods increase energy efficiency and have a greater positive impact on the environment. Green roofs can decrease indoor temperatures by 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit, while purchased solar panels save thousands of dollars on energy bills.
Combined, these two reduce the carbon footprint of the building and the urban heat island effect. The solar panels also increase plant diversity because they provide shade. The plants increase panel efficiency by decreasing the temperature around the solar panels.
3. The Energy Efficiency Benefits of Metal Roofs and Solar
There are a variety of options when it comes to metals. Some of the best and most energy-efficient metal roofing choices include copper, aluminum, and steel.
Metal roofs are a good choice because they don’t absorb a lot of heat. If they are pre-painted or granular coated, they reflect even more radiation. This is why they are perfect for hot regions.
However, metal roofs are also a good option for cold climates. This is due to the fact that metal has low emissivity, meaning that what heat is gained is held by the object for an extended period. This helps reduce heating costs for homes in colder climates.
Solar Panels and Metal Roofing
Solar is the perfect combination with a metal roof. This is because the installation is easy to do. However, it is also because these two are a power couple when it comes to conserving energy.
4. Thermoplastic Olefin Efficient Roofing Material
Thermoplastic olefin, also known as TPO, is a single-ply membrane. This roofing material consists of various TPO membrane parts that are polymerized together.
TPO roofs are suitable for all kinds of weather conditions as they are made using ethylene propylene rubber, a material known for its high durability and excellent flexibility.
In addition to this, the material is algae-resistant and tough on ozone. Moreover, it’s able to handle wear and tear and resists perforations.
This roofing material has a lot of selling points, however, one of the best is the material’s ability to keep homes cool. The reflective white TPO cools homes most effectively, though other colors of membrane roofing are also on the Cool Roof Rating Council’s approved list.
Installing Photovoltaic Solar on a TPO Roof
Because TPO is typically installed on a flat roof it requires a different type of solar mount. This mounting system is called a ballasted racking system. It allows the solar arrays to be put on the roof without penetrating it.
Installing solar with a TPO roof makes perfect sense. Together they help the homeowner reduce their carbon footprint significantly.
5. Conserving Energy With Spray Roofing
Spray roofing, also known as spray polyurethane foam (SPF), involves spraying the foam on a preexisting roof. This form of roofing is typically done on flat roof buildings.
The result is a durable roof. However, to protect the foam from degrading, an elastic coating is then sprayed on the SPF. This coating is what makes this roofing material a cool roof option.
The elastic coating reflects the radiation from the sun. This allows the home to stay cool during hot months. However, the coating also weatherproofs the SPF so that it better insulates the home in the winter as well.
Spray Roofing and Solar Panels
SPF is a great option with solar because it doesn’t weigh much. This allows the home to more easily support the added weight of the solar panels.
Any of these roofing types will help decrease energy use. In combination with a solar array, it will decrease the carbon footprint of the home significantly. Those who want to become self-sufficient can also install battery backup or solar backup for emergencies.