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The problem, Davis explains, is that traditional lighter cool-roof colors aren’t popular with homeowners. “Everyone talks about Energy Star, but those colors don’t sell as well as darker colors. But some areas require an Energy Star roof, so they have to settle for one of those colors. Many are choosing aesthetics over performance.”

Cool-roofs are catching on. DaVinci, for instance, has doubled its cool-roof colors from two to four—and those colors aren’t light. “We started with lighter colors to achieve the cool-roof standards, but that affected aesthetics,” Hansen explains. “Now, we use inorganic pigments to reflect sunlight in the spectrum we can’t see. The colors look the same, but they reflect the spectrum of light as well as lighter colors do.”

Los Angeles tightened its requirements last year, both to aid energy efficiency and reduce heat-island effects. That approach may soon expand. “California typically is the trend-setter in environmental areas, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this focus extend across the country,” says Owens Corning’s Kasprzak.

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Cool-roof options can be confusing, requiring a knowledgeable source to keep things straight. “Radiant-barrier sheathing is a different technology from cool roofing or even insulation,” stresses LP’s Marsh. “Our fear is that some builders see it as an either/or situation, and it should be all of the above in a system approach.”

Eclipse-radiant-barrier-roof-sheathing-from-royomartinEclipse radiant-barrier roof sheathing from RoyOMartin can reduce attic temperatures by as much as 30 degrees. It is available in an FSC-certified option and is verified by APA-The Engineered Wood Association. It comes in 4’x8′ panels, in six thicknesses. It is said to boost energy efficiency while lowering utility bills.

In any system, energy efficiency is important, says Metal Sales’ Davidson. “Energy efficiency will always be an important factor in the selection process even though surveys show data contrary to that belief. It depends on the market. In the commercial market, we see more demand for insulated roof and wall panels that have insulation incorporated into the manufacturing process.”

Market To Continue Rebound
Understanding technologies and systems has become more important as the market rebounds. The market for asphalt, poly and metal products is expected to grow in the coming years, according to a report from The Freedonia Group. It projects an annual 3.9% increase through 2019. “As the residential market is expected to see the faster growth, demand for steep-slope roofing is forecast to rise more rapidly than that for low-slope products,” according to analyst Mark Zielenski.

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New construction will outpace the re-roofing market, driven by double-digit gains in housing starts. Asphalt shingles account for the largest share of roofing demand, due to their dominance in steep-slope applications, says Zielenski. “Advances also will be supported by strong consumer interest in laminated asphalt shingles, which many homeowners feel improve the appearance and value of a residence.”

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