Energy Saving Benefits of Tile Roofs Tyler Allwood, Director of Business Development, Eagle Roofing Products The topic of energy seems to dominate most roofing conversations these days. How can we save more energy on the roof? How much energy can be produced on the roof? Is it more important to save than produce? Whether we like it or not, energy is the future of our industry. This should not come as a big surprise. It is widely accepted that the roof often acts as the largest energy drain in a home or building. At the same time, roofs offer the greatest platform for innovation in energy savings and production. Concrete and clay tile roofs have a head start on energy savings due to their inherent thermal mass advantage. You or your customers may have experienced this firsthand. I also have heard from homeowners over the years who express dismay after removing a tile roof to install another roofing product with lower thermal mass. Their home is now warmer, and their HVAC system is running more often. These homeowners are experiencing, firsthand, what multiple studies over the years have shown about the energy saving benefits of high thermal mass products like roof tile. Thermal mass acts to store the sun’s energy throughout the day, slowing conduction into the attic space. Because of this, homes with tile roofs typically stay considerably cooler and their lower maximum temperatures occur later in the day. This means that the home will use less energy for cooling and that the period of maximum energy usage occurs outside of the more expensive and grid-taxing peak. The tile roofing industry is working hard to bring the inherent benefits of concrete roof tile to light while, at the same time, looking at ways to innovate and become as compatible as possible with energy production systems. Groups like the Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission have traditionally focused on the reflectivity of roofing products to determine their energy saving value. While reflectivity is a strong first line of defense against UV, it does not fully encapsulate the value of an energy saving tile roof system. As mentioned, roof tile brings the value of added thermal mass. Additionally, the airspace that exists between the tile and the roof deck, especially on higher profile tiles, can increase the ability of a tile roof system to resist heat gain in the attic. The Tile Roofing Industry Alliance (TRI) and its member manufacturers are working on several initiatives to make the public aware of these other sources of energy savings in a tile roof system. In the near future, TRI hopes to make it possible for homeowners to use details about their home and their energy bills to see how much they can save by choosing a tile roof. At the same time, one member manufacturer is 22
FLORIDA ROOFING | April 2022
using temperature sensors in roofs around the US to gather data and quantify the temperature differences between high and low thermal mass products on the roof surface and in the attic. The results will be made available to the TRI and its members. The manufacturer members of TRI will also continue to look at ways to produce products that provide customers with higher reflectivity while maintaining the beauty and permanence that the market expects. However, they know that reflectivity – with its limits – cannot be their only focus. That is why they will continue to innovate with new technologies. Some are looking at ways to improve tile systems with more reflective underlayments or by creating more air space and movement under the tile. There are also advancements being investigated that would build more heat resistance into the tile itself. Beyond energy savings, the Tile Roofing Industry Alliance wants to make tile roofing systems the most compatible platform for energy production. Solar energy collection and storage continues to grow and become more accessible. The tile roofing industry believes that the best roof into which to integrate these systems is tile. It only makes sense to use a product that saves more energy in a home or building where the solar system is producing and storing energy. Additionally, the thermal mass of tile plays another role under solar systems. It helps to prevent the heat released by the cells from entering the attic below. There is no doubt that energy will continue to be a focus for our industry and that new technologies will be introduced regularly. Fortunately, tile will continue to provide an energy saving platform to integrate with new ideas while protecting homes and providing unmatched beauty and permanence. FRM Tyler Allwood is the Director of Business Development for Eagle Roofing Products and a member of the Tile Roofing Institute Alliance Government Relations Committee and FRSA’s Roof Tile and Codes Committees. Tyler was a roofing contractor in Florida prior to joining Eagle and served as President of the Sarasota/Manatee Affiliate of the FRSA.