Recently, the U.S. Secretary of Energy encouraged Americans to paint their roofs white, in an effort to reduce global warming by both conserving energy and reflecting sunlight back into space. Speaking in London prior to an international summit on combating climate change, Dr. Chu said that the simple act of painting roofs white could have a dramatic impact on the amount of energy used to keep buildings comfortable. A white roof is a good idea, but a highly reflective metal roof is even better. New technologies allow even darker colored metal roofs to absorb less heat through the use of highly reflective pigments that reflect solar energy.

“The EPA reports that $40 billion is spent annually in the United States to cool buildings. That's an extraordinary amount of money," states Tom Black, executive director of the non-profit Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA). "We applaud Dr. Chu's intent, however in reality; white roofs aren't feasible for most homeowners. Curb appeal rules. The good news is that highly reflective residential metal roofing is available in a wide variety of styles and colors to suit any home." For example, a study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that installation of a reflective metal roof can save homeowners up to forty percent in summer cooling costs. Highly reflective metal roofing panels are created with special pigment paints that reflect the sun's energy in the infrared spectrum thus reducing the heat load transferred to the interior of the structure.

The time is right for homeowners to choose a better roofing system that provides both long and short-term savings. The Stimulus Package signed in February 2009 states that homeowners who make energy efficient updates to their home -- including the installation of a painted or coated Energy Star labeled metal roof -- between January 1, 2009 and December 21, 2010, may be eligible for a tax credit worth 30 percent of the installation costs (materials only) up to $1,500 per home.

In addition to energy savings, metal roofing is cost effective, more durable and longer lasting than most other materials. While the initial cost for a premium metal roof is higher than most other roofing materials, you'll save money in the long run. A metal roof can last a lifetime -- the average life of a non-metal roof is 17 years -- whereas materials like asphalt require reproofing every 10 to 20 years. Plus, no matter the kind of roofing style, there's a metal roofing style to match. Today's metal roofing looks just like common roofing material such as asphalt shingle, clay tile, cedar shake or slate. In addition, as opposed to non-metal roofing material that begins to deteriorate as soon as it's exposed to elements such as the UV rays of the sun, temperature changes, severe storms, and high winds, a metal roof will never deteriorate, and can withstand most everything Mother Nature throws its way. Lastly, a metal roof can also increase the resale value of your home, and in some states, like Texas, a metal roof is reported to lower homeowner's insurance by 35 percent.

With consumers looking for ways to be 'green,' metal roofing offers builders yet another way to market their properties.

[Editor's Note: For more information, visit www.metalroofing.com.]

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