Energy efficiency is all the rage these days. If you've been looking into making your home more efficient, you've probably come across products sold as "cool roofs." These may be made from metal or other materials, but in any regard, they are specially designed to reflect sunlight and provide a layer of insulation between your home and the outdoors -- leading to lower AC bills. While so-called cool roofs are very effective, they can also come with a hefty price tag. If you're on a budget, you may want to look into one of these more affordable energy-efficient roofing choices instead.
Lighter-Colored Asphalt Shingles
One of the things that makes cool roofs cool is their light colors. But in fact, any type of roofing will be more energy-efficient if it's lighter in color. Think about how much cooler you stay in a light shirt than in a black one during the summer, even if the shirts are of the same material.
Asphalt shingles have long been a very affordable roofing choice. They now come in an array of colors, rather than just the classic black, and the lighter colors don't cost any more than the darker ones. Choose a color like tan, cream, or pale gray, and you have an efficient roof for no more than you'd pay for a standard one.
While some metal roofs are marketed as "cool roofs," the truth of the matter is that any metal roof is going to be pretty energy efficient. Metal is just naturally effective! Aluminum roofs tend to be cheaper than those made from steel and copper -- and since they last for up to 80 years, they also save you money down the road since you won't have to replace your roof again for a really long time -- if ever. Make sure your roofing contractor applies a thick layer of insulation beneath your metal roof, and it will surely keep your home more comfortable in the summer.
Cedar shakes are most often used on country-style or rustic homes. You don't see them a lot in cities, but that does not mean you can't opt for them if you're looking for an efficient roof and don't mind standing out from the crowd. Cedar takes on a light, grayish color once it ages, so it won't absorb a lot of sunlight. Wood is also a good natural insulator, which helps keep your home even cooler.
To learn more about your options, visit resources like http://www.rainydayexteriors.com.