Cool shingles are highly reflective and bounce sunlight off of the roof instead of absorbing heat and transferring it to the home’s interior. They’re increasingly popular because they can lower air conditioning bills, extend the life of a roof, and save the homeowner money. Some cool shingles even qualify for a tax rebate. Find the RIGHT roofing solution for your home.

What are Cool Shingles?

Cool shingles are made in three layers – usually a layer each of fiberglass and asphalt to provide insulation and protection, followed by a topical layer of highly reflective granules that acts as a mirror. These granules are great at reflecting sunlight and prevent solar heat build-up on your roof. This means that hot or sunny days have considerably less impact on the temperature of a home and make it less expensive to keep cool during the summer.

Who Should Buy Cool Shingles?

Cool shingles are the most effective in warm climates with a lot of sunshine. In warm climates, cool shingles can help save at least $47 a year on electricity bills. In cooler climates, the savings are only around half that and can be further eroded by higher wintertime heating costs. To get a sense of their impact in your area, use this Department of Energy calculator to estimate your savings with cool shingles.

Benefits

The single greatest benefit of cool shingles is that they lower cooling bills. The hotter and sunnier the area, the higher the savings. The Cool Roof Rating Council estimates that cool shingles can bring savings of between 7 and 15 percent on cooling costs. In sunny Arizona where monthly electricity bills are roughly $200, this amounts to more than $350 a year. In the Greater Atlanta Area, the number’s more likely to be closer to $150. What’s more, qualifying EnergyStar roofs are eligible for a federal tax credit for consumer efficiency, which takes a bite out of the initial cost of installation.

Long-term costs are also lower with cool shingles because they stand up to time and weather better than traditional shingles. This means that you’ll spend less on roof maintenance the years ahead.

Drawbacks

The biggest hurdle to cool shingle ownership is the higher upfront cost. Cool shingles typically cost 20-40% more than their standard counterparts. An additional issue is that cool shingles aren’t generally offered in as many colors or styles, either.

Roofs surfaced with cool shingles can bring hefty savings over time by lowering energy costs, and reduce consumption — and therefore pollution — without sacrificing any quality. But they also cost more and may not be useful in colder, darker areas (sorry, Portland). Make sure your contractor is a licensed provider of quality cool shingles and have a discussion with him about whether they are right for your home.