What's more energy efficient for warmer climates: shingles or a metal roof?

Precious Metal

Metal roofing costs more than shingle roofing, but the investment pays for itself with more savings in the long run.
Metal roofing costs more than shingle roofing, but the investment pays for itself with more savings in the long run.
©iStockphoto.com/Terry J Alcorn

Metal roofing costs at least two to three times more than shingle roofing. It costs less than slate or some premium woods, but it is initially a larger materials and installation investment than traditional shingles [source: Metal Roofing Alliance]. Long term, however, the savings add up with some tax credit options, widespread insurance breaks and longer warranties [source: MRCA and Metal Roofing Alliance]. Additionally, a metal roof is fireproof, requires little maintenance and is better for the environment because it decreases the need for running air conditioning and cooling systems.

If all of this sounds really great, there are some points to consider before you let just anyone start slinging hammers, including the following:

  • Installation is important: Moving forward with metal means hiring the right people for the job. Poorly installed metal roofing is less efficient metal roofing.
  • Value and time: Cost-savings won't be apparent immediately. Long-term savings and the possibility of a lifetime roof are appreciable, but only if you plan on staying in a property for many years.
  • Most places are moving in a green direction: Many regions have requirements for energy efficiency in new construction, and metal roofing has a wide range of options and ENERGY STAR ratings for meeting building codes.
  • Conscience and cost: Many individuals choose to pay more for the betterment of the environment, and metal roofing is one way to decrease the negative effects of dark roofing and energy overuse.
  • Waste not, want not: Metal roofing cuts down on waste in landfills because it is most often installed over the existing roofing, eliminating the need to dispose of the traditional tar-laden shingles.

Replacing or repairing a roof in warm climates will probably always be a hot job for the people doing the work, but metal roofing has some pretty cool payoffs. Check out the resources below to find out more.

Related Articles


  • California Energy Commission, Consumer Energy Center. "Frequently Asked Questions about Cool Roofs." 2011. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/coolroof/faq.html
  • Cool Roof Rating Council. "What's So Cool About Cool Roofs?" McGraw-Hill Construction Continuing Education Center. March 2009. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://continuingeducation.construction.com/article.php?L=68&C=488&P=1
  • Distinguished Contracting Group. "Metal Roofing." 2008. (Jan. 5, 2011)http://www.dcgflorida.com/roofing-basics.html
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Roof." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 2011. (Jan. 2, 2011)http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/509178/roof
  • Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC). "Energy-Efficient Design for Florida Educational Facilities." 2007. (Jan. 9, 2011)http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/html/FSEC-CR-1682-00/images/e-dsn-3.htm
  • International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). "Roofing." 2011. (Jan. 2, 2011)http://www.nachi.org/roofs.htm
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Cool Roofs for Hot Climates." U.S. Department of Energy, Home Energy Saver. 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010)http://hes.lbl.gov/consumer/help-popup/content/~consumer~nrr~cool-roofs
  • Metal Roofing Alliance. "Frequently Asked Questions." 2011. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.metalroofing.com/v2/content/about/faq.cfm
  • Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA). "Beating the Elements: Metal Roof Sales Are Through the Ceiling." 2011. (Jan. 8, 2011)http://www.mrca.org/i4a/headlines/headlinedetails.cfm?id=277&pageid=3627&archive=0
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Roofing Links and Resources." 2011. (Jan. 5, 2011)http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/weatherization/resources/roofing.html
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Roof Savings Calculator." 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010)http://www.roofcalc.com/index.shtml
  • Urban, Bryan and Roth, Kurt. "Guidelines for Selecting Cool Roofs." U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program. July 2010. (Jan. 6, 2011)www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/coolroofguide.pdf
  • U.S. Department of Energy "Deciding Whether to Install a Cool Roof." USA.gov. Oct. 20, 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010)http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/designing_remodeling/index.cfm/mytopic=10096
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "ENERGY STAR Roof Products for Consumers." EnrgyStar.gov. 2011. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=RO
  • Zoi, Cathy. "Cool Roofs: An Easy Upgrade." U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Blog. Dec. 14, 2010. (Dec. 31, 2010)http://blog.energy.gov/blog/2010/12/14/cool-roofs-easy-upgrade