Flat roofs offer an interesting aesthetic to a home or commercial building but is there an environmentally conscious reason to have one? Maybe. While these roofs offer an edgier look and feel, they may offer energy efficiency as well. In a day and age where we’re eliminating plastics and upcycling home goods, it may be time to re-think pitched roofs in favor of the energy efficiency of flat roofs.
Energy Efficiency of Flat Roofs
While flat roofs offer energy efficiency and lower initial investment cost, both of which make them an attractive option, there is often concern that flat roofs leak more than their sloped counterparts. This may be true but the real issue may be the quality of materials and workmanship. Flat roofs rely on specific installation methods and materials that lower overall heating and cooling demand. When these aren’t done correctly, there may be damage caused by leaks.
In our article Flat Roofs for Residential and Commercial Roofing, we discuss the different types of flat roofs and benefits of each.
As with any roofing project, the type and quality of materials and installation matter more than the design.
Did you know there are ENERGY STAR certified roofing products?
In addition to ENERGY STAR appliances that you may have in your home, the federal government has named roofing products that can lower roof surface temperature. In Las Vegas, we need to do all we can to keep cool, especially in the 100+ degrees of the summer. ENERGY STAR estimates the use of reflective roofing material can reduce peak cooling demand by 10-15% which correlates to decreased indoor temperatures and lower utility bills.
Another option is a cool roof coating made of acrylic polymers, resins, filters, and titanium dioxide pigments which requires an annual application. Most are only suitable for durable membrane flat roofs. While the coating may lower utility bills in the short-term, the long-term re-application costs could negate long-term savings. And because of the energy efficiency of the traditional durable membranes, it may not makes sense to get the additional coating.
If you’re looking for the energy efficiency of flat roofs, it is arguable if it makes sense to purchase ENERGY STAR or other products. You may be better off with energy-efficient windows and proper ductwork to keep your Las Vegas home or commercial building cool. If you’re not sure what’s best for your home or commercial building, we’d love to talk to you.