The federal government and the IRS consider cool metal roofing to be so green they are providing tax credits to homeowners who install this energy efficient building product on their homes in 2009 and 2010.
The tax credits were already in place thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. At that time homeowners who installed an Energy Star labeled cool metal roof could receive a tax credit of 10 percent of the material cost up to $500. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a.k.a. the Stimulus Package) extended that same tax credit through 2010 and increased the maximum amount to 30 percent of the material cost up to an aggregate maximum over the two years of $1500. The specifics of the tax incentive are covered in Section 25C of the IRS Tax Code. Homeowners need to use IRS Form 5695(2009 version).
Other Federal tax incentives exist for new residential construction and commercial construction. For new residential, a qualified contractor can receive a $2,000 tax credit for building a home that is 50 percent better than the performance according to IECC-2004. This credit was extended through 2009. A variety of energy efficient building features and processes can help to achieve that level of performance. A cool metal roof is no exception. Cool metal roofing has been shown to reduce annual cooling energy on homes by 25 percent compared to dark roof surfaces. They also can help to reduce peak demand electricity consumption by 15 percent in certain parts of the country.
For commercial building owners, a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot is available if the building is designed and constructed to be 50 percent more energy efficient than one built to ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standards. That deduction has been extended through 2013 in the Stimulus Package. Again, a cool metal roof can contribute to the cooling and heating energy savings in these types of buildings.
Throughout the Federal Energy related legislation, references are made to the EPAs Energy Star program. Energy Star also has a Roof Products Program that lists products meeting certain criteria for solar reflectance. For steep slope roofing (> 2:12) the criteria are initial solar reflectance of 0.25 and aged (3-year exposure) solar reflectance of 0.15.
Todays Energy Star listing has more than 2,200 labeled products and more than 75 percent of them are either coatings for the metal roofing industry or metal roofing products themselves. Industry-recognized ASTM test methods are specified for measuring the surface solar reflectance of roof products.
In the current Energy Star Roof Products Program, manufacturers of roofing products are also required to report the measured thermal emittance of the products. Although there are no minimum criteria for emittance yet, EPA has suggested it will analyze the data being reported and possibly establish a requirement in future versions of the program.
The metal roofing industry is talking to Energy Star program officials to modify the existing program when it comes to metal roofing.
For example, we now know a roof installed in such a way as to create an airspace between the roof and the solid sheathing can significantly reduce heat flow through the roof. This phenomenon is known as Above Sheathing Ventilation (ASV) and when combined with a cool metal roof it can lower the heat passing through the roof by up to 45 percent. We are attempting to convince Energy Star that a roof with a solar reflectance less than their 0.25 minimum criteria, but installed with ASV, can be equivalent to a roof product that meets Energy Star, in terms of energy conservation.
Energy Star listings for metal roofing are also connected to the products on the Cool Roof Rating Council s directory. The CRRC is an ANSI independent organization that has established a third-party methodology for determining the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of all roof products. Unlike Energy Star the CRRC does not establish a cool roof definition or criteria based on reflectance and emittance. But the data in the CRRC directory can be used to populate Energy Star listings and for codes, standards or green initiatives to reference.
In addition to the cool nature of metal roofing, which in itself makes it a green product, the surge in popularity of renewable energy is good news for metal roofing. A metal roof is the perfect platform for building-integrated photovoltaic systems. Fastening techniques now allow most PV systems to be installed on metal roofing without penetrating the roof surface. The synergy between the metal roof and the PV array is excellent since they both have a similar expected service life.
Wind power is another source of renewable energy. Many novel and new wind turbine designs are making their way into the marketplace. We are not just talking about windmill farms lining the horizon. Many new wind turbine technologies lend themselves to installation on roofs. Again, with metal roofing, the durability of the product, and the fastening technologies that prevent penetration, make metal roofing an ideal platform for introducing wind power to a building as well.
Metal roofing is a green product. The Federal Government sees it that way, and its properties allow it to be specified that way in numerous green building initiatives, rating programs, rebates and standards.