According to the Energy Star website, Americans spend about $40 billion annually to air condition homes and commercial buildings alike. Many homeowners ask about the tax credit available when purchasing a new roof thinking an Energy Star rated shingle will be worth the either “white” shingle or the investment of a solar reflective shingle. The 2013 availability was 10% of cost up to $500 and expired December 31, 2013. It is still not published what will be available for 2014 but one would need to way out the cost versus the savings before making the decision. It has been proven that Energy Star qualified roof products reflect more of the sun’s rays and can lower roof surface temperature decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building. This can lower the utility cost but so can the proper ventilation on your roof. There is only a 5% temperature difference in the attic space between a white and a black shingle. If you have a large canopy of trees consider the sap and leaf staining that a white shingle will take on over time that is not covered in the Algae and Fungus warranty. If you purchased a white shingle and save up to $500 for 2013 then see that within a year your roof is stained, would it be worth that savings?
Many homeowners also have looked into the CertainTeed Solaris or the GAF Timberline Cool Series shingles because you get more of a reflective surface and choice of colors. Cool roofs may save residents an avg. 7-15% of total cooling costs, depending on geography, structure, and climate. This sounds wonderful and in warmer year round climates certainly could be however each homeowner should look at the cost versus savings because each of the two shingles mentioned above do come with a price. When looking to have a solar reflective shingle installed over the traditional choices, on average you will be spending about double the cost per 100 square feet than that of a standard architectural shingle.
Obviously lowering your utility cost is something everyone would like. Before spending the money on upgrading your shingles to solar reflective models, consider upgrading your ventilation and attic insulation. You may just find that those two items cost far less and do the trick.