6 Ways Your Roof Can Save You Energy

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Most homeowners are concerned about the rising cost of monthly utility bills and are continually looking for ways to conserve energy. In our research, we discovered six ways your roof can save you energy and your hard-earned money.

Unplugging your devices and running your HVAC system less frequently is great, but the most effective way to reduce your overall energy costs is to install energy-efficient roofing. Homeowners in the U.S. spend an average of 6% of their annual income on energy costs while those in lower-income brackets spend as much as 10%. 

How Can Your Roof Save You on Energy Costs?

When you think about energy savings and costs, your mind probably turns to your heating and cooling bills. While it is tempting to upgrade your HVAC system, your roof is your first line of defense against the elements, helping you create a stable living environment. 

The energy efficiency and overall comfort of your home begin with your roof. Many upgrades can reduce the load on your furnace and air conditioner, lowering your energy bills and carbon footprint. 

1. Ventilation

Photo credit: Bill Smith / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Ventilation regulates the airflow between your roof and your attic. Without proper ventilation, hot air becomes trapped inside your home, making your HVAC system work harder to cool your home. 

Roof ventilation allows you to control the airflow of your home and the stability of the temperature in your environment. You can install a new ventilation system with an older roof system, but it will not be as cost-effective as installing a new roof

According to the Minnesota Sustainable Housing Initiative, two popular ventilators, the heating recovery ventilator (HRV) and the energy recovery ventilator (ERV) reduce the load on your heating and cooling system by 12%. These units cost between $600 to $1,100, excluding labor.

2. Insulation

When we think of insulation, we think about trapping heat, but insulation works both ways. It is not just necessary to prevent drafts and lock in heat, it also keeps heat out in the summer. 

At its most basic, attic insulation slows down the transfer of heat between the outdoors and your living space. Properly installed quality insulation can reduce your overall energy costs by up to 11% when applied to your attic and roof deck. On average, attic insulation installation costs $2,380, including labor.

3. Solar Reflection

Photo credit: Rawpixel

Cool roofs are the newest roofing materials on the market. While traditional asphalt shingles can reach blistering temperatures of upwards of 150 degrees Fahrenheit, specially designed cool roof materials lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees. 

Cool roofs possess solar reflective properties. These reflective roofs reduce the amount of heat absorbed, lowering the temperature of the surrounding air. According to the Cool Roof Rating Council, you can save between 7% and 15% on energy costs by switching to cool roofing options.

New roofs increase a home’s energy efficiency, possessing higher reflectance values than older roofs. All cool roof materials are solar reflective and help to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Cool roof materials include:

  • Specialized asphalt shingles 
  • Wood shingles or shakes
  • Concrete and clay tiles
  • Specialized metal roofs
  • Sheet coverings like rolled roofing
  • Specialized roof paints

4. Shingle Color

Photo credit: Pxhere

If you are like most people, you avoid wearing black on warm sunny days. Darker colors absorb heat, and roofs are no different. The color of your roof impacts the surface temperature and energy efficiency of your home.

Hotter, more tropical climates benefit from light-colored shingles with a higher solar reflectance index, while colder climates benefit from darker roofs to help absorb heat.

5. Radiant Barrier

Radiant barriers are sheets of material installed in attics to reflect heat and reduce cooling costs. The material reduces energy costs by 5% to 10% in warm climates. 

The material is not a substitute for insulation, and installation is common in re-roofing projects. Radiant barriers and insulation work together to slow conductive heat and reflect radiant heat making your home more comfortable and energy-efficient.    

6. Solar Power

Photo credit: Roy Bury / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Ten years ago, solar energy seemed like alien technology from the future. While solar options seem like an expensive alternative to traditional cool roofing materials, the price of solar panels has decreased by 70% since 2014. 

Solar panels and solar shingles work by absorbing the sun’s rays and converting the light to thermal or electrical energy. Solar shingles are the size of traditional shingles, and like solar panels, they reduce energy costs. 

The number of panels or solar shingles your home will require is determined by the price you currently pay for energy. Solar power will reduce your energy bill by 40% to 70% for the typical roof installation, and for every $1 reduction in your annual utility bill, your home’s value increases by $20. 

Benefits of Installing Energy-Efficient Roofing

Saving money is high on everyone’s list of priorities. Replacing your roof or installing energy-efficient upgrades are a great way to reduce your energy costs while adding additional benefits, including:

  • Reduces carbon footprint 
  • Extends the life of your HVAC system
  • Adds to your property and resale values
  • Lowers peak energy demand helping to prevent outages 
  • Improves indoor comfort for areas without air conditioning, like attics and garages 

Can You Get Government Kickbacks?

2022 marked a new era for the push of energy-efficient housing in the U.S. The Biden administration passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to assist low-income households with weatherization upgrades to increase energy efficiency and lower utility costs. 


Some states offer rebates for cool roof systems, and homeowners can earn a tax credit through the ENERGY STAR program. The government support program, dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, offers tax credits for 10% of the cost of your new roof up to $500.

The tax credit requirements include:

  • Asphalt roofs must have cooling granules and meet ENERGY STAR requirements. 
  • Metal roofs must have pigmented coating and meet ENERGY STAR requirements.
  • The credit does not include labor costs.
  • The credit does not apply to new construction.

Solar Tax Credits

As a form of renewable energy, solar roofing is also eligible for a government tax credit. Solar roofs installed between 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit, while those installed between 2022 to 2032 are eligible for a 30% credit. There is no maximum amount a homeowner can claim and expenses include: 

  • Solar panels or cells 
  • Contractor labor costs, including permitting fees and inspection costs
  • Balancing equipment including wiring, mounting equipment, and inverters
  • Energy storage devices with a capacity rating of 3 kilowatt-hours or greater
  • Sales tax on expenses

FAQ About How a Roof Saves on Energy Costs

How much does a solar roof cost?

There are two main types of solar roofs, solar shingles and solar panels. On average, solar shingles cost $49,700 including labor and solar panels cost an average of $20,000. While solar panels may seem like the more cost-effective option, remember they are a roof addition, while solar shingles are a complete roof system.

Are ENERGY STAR roofs worth it?

Energy-efficient roofing pays for itself, and homeowners can recover 100% of their investment when installing a new roof. ENERGY STAR-rated roofing materials can help lower energy costs by up to 25%, and the average home saves up to $500 per year. 

What color is the most energy-efficient?

White reflective roofs are the most energy-efficient, significantly lowering temperatures and reducing the overall urban heat island. White roofs reflect up to 80% of sunlight while gray roofs only reflect 20%.

How to Decide Which Energy-Efficient Roof is Best for Your Home

Utility costs aren’t decreasing. In fact, electricity costs rose by 4.3% in 2021. If you are in the market for a new roof or want to save some money with energy-efficient upgrades for your existing roof, reach out to a local roofing contractor to learn about your options.

Main photo credit:  Marko Milivojevic | Pixnio

Kimberly Magerl

Kimberly Magerl is a writer and data analyst specializing in home improvement, DIY, roofing, and solar technologies. She enjoys growing vegetables in her garden, getting outdoors, and transforming her space with DIY projects. A resident of Texas, when she isn't gardening, Kimberly enjoys trying new recipes and cooking with her home-grown herbs.