Whether you want to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, making your home more energy efficient is one of the most practical ways to do so.
Most homeowners know that investing in Energy Star certified appliances and switching from electric heaters to forced air can make a major dent in your consumption, but the truth is that the single biggest change you can make if you want your home to be as energy efficient as possible is more structural.
And to see it, all you have to do is look up.
Efficiency Starts with the Roof
To make your home as efficient as possible typically requires you to do two things: get the most out of the energy you use, and reduce the amount of energy you need in the first place. Because it insulates the living space and plays a role in regulating heating flows, the roof impacts both parts of the equation.
It is estimated that the roof is responsible for as much as 25% of energy loss in a home, so reducing this number should be a major priority.
When your roof is properly insulated, you won’t just lose less energy — you’ll also use less energy because your living space will require less heat to reach a comfortable temperature.
How to Make Your Roof More Efficient
No matter what kind of home you live in, there are a few steps you can take to make your roof more efficient.
Some of these steps can be undertaken for a relatively low cost, while others involve serious renovations — but in both cases, the money you spend when you hire roofers who understand the role a roof plays in reducing energy use will be an investment in your house’s future.
- Upgrade Your Insulation: Insulation is measured in R-values, and while an R-value of 13-23 is acceptable for walls, your ceiling and attic should have nothing less than an R-30 rating — with an R-49 being ideal.
- Improve Attic Ventilation: An efficient roof is a ventilated roof. If you don’t have air circulating in your attic space, you’ll run into serious problems like ice damming, rot, and mold, so make sure your roofers put in some ridge venting to ensure better air flow.
- Install a Flat Roof: Flat roofs are significantly more efficient than pitched roofs, and they also help you maximize your living space. While installing a flat roof might involve a considerable expense, it also expands your living space, reduces your energy bills, and improves resale value.
- Invest in High Quality Roofing Membranes: If you already have a flat roof, you may still be able to improve it by replacing your current flat-roofing material with a more efficient and resilient membrane.
Building a truly efficient home takes time, and touches on everything from appliances and fixtures to essential components of the home like basements, walls, and attics.
If you have a dream of making your home greener and cheaper to run, it’s a good idea to embrace long-term planning. Making small changes every year (like upgrading insulation or cutting new vents) while saving up for big projects like installing a flat roof is a great way to make steady progress toward your ultimate goal.