California Title 24 Part 6 – Part 2

You have just showed your customer the available cool roof products and gone over the costs. “Do I have to use them?” “I wanted a black roof.”  These will be just a few of the comments you may hear customers make followed by “I heard there are other things I can do instead of using a cool roof.”

Are you ready to talk about the options available to your customers? Does your marketing address the fact that your customers have options?  If so, you will be able to help your customers make the best decision and maybe make a little extra money along the way.

First let’s talk about some of the reasons your customers may not want to go the cool roof route.

Before I go into this I want to say up front that there will be circumstances where a cool roof will be a good option, or the only option that will work. I am also only talking about cool roof’s in a residential context, not commercial. And finally I want to mention that I am all for energy conservation and doing what is good for the environment. That said, I am not a huge fan of cool roofs. Why?

To start, they are very expensive, at least when you are talking about cool asphalt shingles. Right now roofing manufacturers must use a specially coated granule that is much more expensive than a standard granule.  As of right now most cool shingles run almost double the cost of the equivalent non-cool shingle (with the exception of some white shingles that are getting CRRC approval).

In addition to the cost there is the issue of color. Right now the available colors are limited and even though some are introducing darker versions of cool roofs many still have a washed out look to me.

The next issue I have is that I am skeptical of the ability of a cool roof to really save the homeowner money. At least enough money to make the additional expense worth the cost. According to some cool roof literature a cool roof will reduce the typical attic temperature by about ten degrees. Really, that’s it? Will that really save most people a substantial amount in the summertime? It will reduce some of the load on your AC unit on the hottest days but will reducing your attic from 150 degrees to 140 degrees really change the feel and comfort of your home? Will it really save you a substantial amount on your energy bills? What does it do for you in the winter? I know that there are some passionate discussions about this, however at this point I am not convinced. I am not addressing the “heat island effect” argument, just the individual homeowner benefit.

The last thing that I find troubling about cool roofs is addressed here: Look at the answers to the questions “Will installing an ENERGY STAR-compliant roof product save me money no matter where I live?” and “Can I expect the same level of savings over the entire lifetime of my roof?” You may find the answers surprising.

The good news is there are six allowed trade-offs that may work for your customer instead of using a cool roof. In part 3 I will go into detail on each of the available trade-offs.

In the meantime please let me know your thoughts about cool roofs.