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Cool Metal Roofs

Many—but not all—metal roofs qualify for the federal energy conservation tax credit for 2010. Metal roofs keep your house cooler during the summer, which can reduce electric bills if your home is air-conditioned.

In general, to qualify for the tax credit the roof must meet ENERGY STAR standards. For roofing, this means the TSR (total solar reflectivity) must be greater than 25 percent when new and 15 percent after three years.

To be sure the roofing qualifies, ask for the specifications and a manufacturer’s certification statement (MCS). I recently got quotes on a roof installation, and several roofers told me their asphalt shingles qualified for the tax credit. In actuality, they did not qualify.

The amount of the tax credit is 30 percent of the material cost of the roof (not installation) up to $1,500. Use IRS form 5695 to apply, and save the payment receipt and MCS in case of a tax audit.

A permanent roof
For my home, I selected a Classic Metal Roofing Systems aluminum roof. It is made from 98 percent recycled aluminum; 1-by-2-foot panels are formed to simulate a cedar shake roof.

To install the roof, a special film underlayment was nailed down with plastic clips and stainless steel fasteners over the old shingles (which saved the expense of removing them). Each panel interlocks with the adjacent ones on all four sides. The top of each panel is held down by a stainless steel nail through a hidden fastening point in the upper corner and an aluminum clip attached midway across the top.

Although it is more expensive to install than asphalt shingles, my metal roof should never have to be replaced. I also get 3 percent off homeowner’s insurance because of reduced fire hazard.

Most metal roofs reflect more of the sun’s heat than do asphalt shingles. My metal roof has a TSR of 0.43 whereas a black asphalt shingle roof has a TSR of only 0.05. This keeps the roofing materials cooler so less heat radiates down into the living area.

My roof’s final energy advantage is that the aluminum panels have the contour of shakes formed into them. This contour creates a gap allowing outdoor air to circulate up under the metal panels to keep them cooler.


Metal roofing options

These companies offer metal roofs:

• Classic Metal Roofing Systems, (800) 543-8938,

• Conklin Metal Industries, (800) 282-7386,

• Follansbee Steel, (800) 624-6906,

• Met-Tile, (909) 947-0311,

• Meridian Metal Roofing, (888) 900-0977,

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