What is Low-E Insulation & is it Good for My Roof?

Low-E-ImageWhen it comes to your roof as a system, you might think things are pretty black and white. You have your underlayment and roofing shingles or tiles on top of it. That's pretty much all that comes with it, right?

While that can be the case with many roofs, there are some additions and upgrades that you can include to help improve the health and longevity of your roof - or even help lower the amount of heat that transfers into your home.

One upgrade we recommend to nearly every homeowner we speak to is including Low-E insulation with their roof project. There are numerous benefits that come with this upgrade, but many homeowners haven't even heard of it. To help educate our customers on all things roofing, we'll be diving into what Low-E insulation is and how it can help your roof and your home in this blog.


What is Low-E or Therma-Sheet Insulation?

To start answering this question, we first have to establish that all building products have an "e" rating," with most products scoring over .80. This rating stands for emissivity, which is the ability of a surface to give off heat to a cooler surface. Therefore, the lower the "e" rating, the less radiant heat a surface will give off.

There are three ways heat is transferred: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is when heat transfers through contact - like touching a hot stove. Convection results from air or liquid being warmed and traveling away from the heating source with thermal energy. An example of convection is when warm air rises. Radiation consists of electromagnetic waves that transfer heat through space without contact, like the sun. Low-E insulation protects your roof and home from all three types. 

While Low-E insulation might sound like a radiant barrier, the two are different products. A radiant barrier is a foil or mylar that reflects radiant heat. Low-E thermal insulation doesn't only reflect radiant heat but also provides a thermal break from conductive energy transfer. This is the key differentiating factor because the thermal break reduces how much energy is transferred between two surfaces.


3 Top Benefits of Low-E

1. Lower attic temperatures

By installing Low-E thermal insulation, less heat will be transferred into your attic from the roof above. The heat that would otherwise end up in your attic is reflected back out, leaving you with a cooler attic. A cooler attic results in less heat finding its way into your actual home and therefore less work - and electricity needed - for your HVAC system. And although it will still be pretty warm in your attic during summer with Low-E, it makes any necessary work up there more manageable.


2. Does not heat other roofing materials

Reducing the amount of heat that's transferred also benefits your other roofing materials, as they will experience a lower temperature as well. This is beneficial for a number of reasons, with the top benefit being a longer life for your roof. As you probably know, our hot Arizona sun is harsh and can degrade roofing materials quicker than expected. By keeping a portion of that heat out and away from your other roofing materials, Low-E thermal insulation helps to expand the useable lifetime of your roofing system as a whole.


3. More money in your pocket

The biggest benefit homeowners experience from installing Low-E thermal insulation is lower energy bills and more money in their pocket. As the first two benefits pointed out, there is less heat energy transfer. Reducing that also reduces the amount of heat that gets into your home. Less heat in your home means your AC doesn't have to work as hard to cool your house, which means lower energy bills. 

With summer already here in the Valley of the Sun, it's a good time to see what your options are for Low-E to help offset our hottest months of the year. If you'd like to schedule a free roof evaluation to explore your options, just click the button below.

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