Selling the Benefit of Energy Efficiency
In this edition of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, we will return to our series on Selling the Benefits of Residential Metal Roofing to discuss energy efficiency.
The energy efficiency of metal roofing must be a critical component of the sales presentation in order to adequately articulate the premium value of metal. We are taking homeowners on a complex psychological journey where we must constantly juggle the emotional and logical justification for purchasing an investment-grade roof, a roof that is likely much more expensive than what they were planning for. We have already discussed the importance of selling the beauty of metal roofing – an emotion justification – but we also must provide legitimate logical justification, as well.
We call these logical justifications the “water cooler justification.” When the husband returns to work the morning after your appointment, he doesn’t tell his buddies he bought a metal roof because it was pretty. He is going to explain how it is a lifetime solution, will save him money on his energy bills, etc. He will not write the check if we cannot provide him the logical justifications, as well as the emotional.
It is also critical to properly discuss energy efficiency in order to incorporate it into your True Cost Analysis following the price presentation. We will discuss the True Cost Analysis close in a later Executive Report.
When discussing energy efficiency, we must set a realistic and honest expectation for how much money a homeowner will save. First, the savings will only be on their summer cooling costs. Some contractors have tried to argue that metal roofing provides winter savings, as well, but winter savings are derived from insulating the living space of any home. The roof has little effect.
We consistently see homeowners in all area of North America save 20 – 25% on their summer cooling costs after switching to a metal roof. We have seen higher numbers, but have also seen homeowner struggle to believe these higher numbers. By sticking to promoting and marketing “potential savings of 20 – 25% on summer cooling costs,” you are in a safe area that is true while also believable.
Metal roofing reduces summer cooling costs by preventing the sun’s heat from transferring into the home. Heat travels in three ways: radiant, conduction, and convection. Radiant heat is when heat travels through the air – like the sun’s rays heating the roof. Most metal roofs can claim efficiency benefits by reflecting this radiant heat through the use of reflective pigments in their paint systems. These pigments have been specially engineered to reflect radiant heat, thus preventing that heat from transferring into the home.
Reflective roofing materials have increased in popularity largely due to Energy Star and it’s previously available tax credits for energy efficient building materials. Energy Star defines reflective roofing materials as those with a 25% or above reflectivity rating. Reflective pigments allow darker colors are able to meet this 25% threshold; without them no brown, black, gray, green, etc. roof would qualify.
Metal shingle products, those emulating the traditional look of slate, shake, shingles, and tile, have the added ability to prevent the conductive transfer of heat – heat that passes or transfers through solid matter. These products have an integral airspace on the roof that works just like the airspace in a thermal pane window. This small airspace created between the roof and decking is just enough space to break the conductive transfer of heat and prevent that heat from entering the home, further decreasing the home’s cooling load.
In our experience, this airspace is actually a more influential factor in energy savings than the reflectivity rating. Florida Solar Energy Institute compared attic temperatures under one of our brown metal shingle products to a white standing seam – a system with a much higher reflectivity rating but no integral airspace between the panels and decking. It was found that our metal shingle kept the attic four degrees cooler than the white standing seam. You can learn more about that study here.
A portion of metal’s efficiency can be attributed to its high emissivity rating – meaning any absorbed heat dissipates quickly. We have all felt a home’s brick exterior after a long summer day as it stays warm well into the night. Brick has a low emissivity rating. A metal roof will heat up while in direct sunlight, but the heat dissipates quickly; quick enough to cool completely while the sun passes behind a cloud. Rather than harboring the heat and slowly transferring it into the home, it returns harmlessly into the atmosphere. This is a more complicated concept to explain to homeowners so we largely recommend sticking to the reflective pigments and integral airspace unless otherwise asked.
Having the ability to give an in-depth explanation of the energy efficiency of metal roofing and how it is achieved will further establish you as an expert and separate you from the competition. While giving you the opportunity to inject logical justification into the decision making process and allow clients to believe that a metal roof will not only protect their family and beautify their home, but also save them money on their energy bills.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you. Please know we are always available to continue the conversation and here to serve you if an opportunity ever arises.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
You may pull quotes from this article provided you include a link back to the original article on this site. You may not reprint this full article, or even a significant amount of the article, without explicit permission. To gain permission, click here.