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As you improve your home’s performance, don’t forget about the crucial structure that sits atop your home and protects everything inside. Your home’s shell is critical to your health and safety, as well as the efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient roof can impact energy costs, indoor air quality, and resilience to extreme weather.

Strong Roofs Are Critical for Home Health and Safety

Without a strong roof, the rest of your home is at risk of being damaged by leaks, which can impact indoor air quality or lead to issues like mold. If roof leaks are bad enough, they could eventually even lead to collapse. Knowing when to upgrade your roof can be difficult, but in general, if you have any water damage in the upstairs or attic, it may be time to replace your roof.

You should also familiarize yourself with your roof’s lifespan to ensure it hasn’t extended beyond its expiration date. Generally speaking, roofs can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years, or even longer in some regions, depending on the materials used. If your roof is sagging or you see curling or buckling shingles, that may signal that your roof is deteriorating. It’s important to keep a close eye on the health of your roof since — when it becomes necessary to replace your roof, time may not be on your side.

Energy-Efficient Roofs Can Save You Money

When considering upgrading your roof, Pearl recommends installing an energy-efficient roof for maximum performance. If you’re in a warm climate, you should consider cool roof designs that offer improved efficiency. These are designed to reflect more sunlight than conventional roofs, thereby lowering the temperature of your home and requiring less cooling during hot summers.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Heat Island Group, a clean white cool roof that reflects 80% of sunlight will stay about 50°F cooler than a gray roof that reflects only 20% of sunlight on a typical summer day. These kinds of savings can significantly reduce air conditioning costs in the summer, when energy costs are usually high.

What about heat loss? When it comes to keeping your home cozy and your energy bills down, it's really all about the attic plane. That's the boundary that separates your attic from the rest of the home. About 25% of your home's heat loss happens there. If your attic is unfinished, it's critical that your attic plane is adequately insulated and air sealed to prevent heat from escaping into the unconditioned attic space and then out through the roof.

Pearl recommends exploring ENERGY STAR®’s Certified Roof Products Program for more information on how to choose the best roof for your home.

Energy-Efficient Roofs Can Provide Weather Resilience

As extreme weather events, such as wildfires, storms, and hurricanes, increase over time, the resilience of your home should be a top priority. Having an energy-efficient roof installed that is also weather-resilient will help protect your home even in the most extreme conditions. For example, to combat high winds, manufacturers have added features such as wide, reinforced nailing zones and new sealants to help bond shingles to one another for improved resiliency. 

Increased hail storms could also lead to roof damage, and insurance company Aon reported that hail-related damages cost between $8 billion and $14 billion a year in the U.S. from 2000 to 2019. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, then ensuring your roof is efficient and wildfire-resistant should be at the top of your list. According to the University of California, homeowners in wildfire-prone areas should look for Class A-rated roofs, which are made from materials that include clay, concrete, or slate.

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Selecting the Right Roofing Materials

Pearl recommends reaching out to a Pearl Network Contractor to discuss your home and your individual needs. They can help you navigate choosing the right materials for your home, depending on your climate. For example, ENERGY STAR says that most homes should plan on installing a cool roof for maximum efficiency, which can be installed on either sloped or low-sloped roofs.

Some of the common cool roof materials include membranes, shingles, coatings, stone, rock, metal, and tile with a high solar reflectance rating. Although the ENERGY STAR roof program sunsetted in 2022, it recommends using the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) to help choose the right materials. Depending on your location, you may also be able to explore installing solar roof shingles. Solar shingles can lower utility bills by 40% to 70%.

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Utilizing Tax Credits for More Savings

Depending on when you made an upgrade to your home, you may qualify for energy-efficient tax credits. If you made home performance upgrades in 2022, you’re in luck! For qualifying upgrades made between January 1 and December 31, 2022, homeowners could be eligible to receive anywhere from $50 to $500 in tax credits. For select energy-efficient roofs, homeowners are eligible to receive up to 10% of the product cost (up to $500), which does not include installation. To qualify, new roofs must have been purchased before June 1, 2022, must be ENERGY STAR-certified, and must be made from either metal (with pigmented coatings) or asphalt (with cooling granules).

Starting in 2023, there will be additional energy-efficient tax credits available, so keep an eye out for Pearl updates on more ways to save.

Create a Home Investment Plan and Connect With Pearl Network Contractors 

To ensure you’re choosing the right roofing materials for maximum performance, it’s important to partner with a contractor who understands your goals. Whether it’s improving indoor air quality, improving weather resilience, or increasing your home’s resale value, it’s important to get all the right information on selecting the best roofing option for your home’s climate. Pearl Network Contractors are vetted according to Pearl’s strict standards, and every project is independently certified by Pearl, giving you peace of mind about your investment. Find and connect with your local Pearl Network Contractor in our free Green Door app. Earn points toward Silver, Gold, and Platinum home certifications, create Home Investment Plans and maintenance reminders, and more. Get started today!

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