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Charleston Roofing: Article About Exploring Energy-efficient Roofing

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Once derided for lacking innovation in energy-efficient technology, the roofing industry has made great strides over the last several years. By exploring the many Charleston roofing options available to you, you may find that you're able to both save money and better protect your property from the elements. With the government's ENERGY STAR program now rating various materials, making an informed decision for your property is more convenient than ever.

Currently, the two most popular styles of energy-efficient roofing are cool and green roofs. According to, each of these roofing styles can be achieved through various materials. From a practical stand point, the major difference between the two options is the use of either highly-reflective materials (cool roofs) or the use of plant life (green roofs). While ENERGY STAR does not provide ratings for green roofing materials, there remain many notable benefits.

Ideal for buildings in urban areas and for commercial buildings with flat or shallow-pit roof designs, green roofs have been shown to provide added insulation and shade, in turn reducing the need for heating and air conditioning. In fact, the EPA estimates that on hot summer day, green roofs can have surface temperatures that are actually lower than the surrounding air temperature. Comparatively, conventional rooftop surfaces may be more than 90-degrees higher than the surrounding air temperature.

Other benefits associated with green roofs include reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, aesthetic value, slower storm water runoff, and improved water quality.

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Further, the significant reduction in building temperatures offers quality-of-life-improvements, ranging from greater indoor comfort to reduced instances of heat-related stress. As a drawback, compared to other energy-efficient options, green roofs can be expensive and complicated to install.

On the other end of the spectrum, cool roofs are loosely defined as those made through roofing materials with a high solar reflectance. Designed to turn away sunlight and heat, highly reflectivity has been identified by ENERGY STAR as the most important aspect of a product's ability to produce energy savings during peak summer temperatures. Coupled with emissivity, the material's ability to release absorbed heat, high reflectivity in building materials can help roofs stay between 50 to 60 degrees cooler than they would with conventional materials.

Cool roofing materials can be installed on both low-slope and steep-slope roofs, meaning that both residential and commercial customers can take advantage of the numerous associated benefits. Additionally, cool roofing options run a fairly large gamut in terms of price and available materials. Highly reflective paint, reflective sheet covering, reflective tiles, and reflective shingles are among the more common available options. From a cost-savings standpoint, a California study cited by the EPA indicates average yearly net savings for cool roofs was almost $.50 per square foot.

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