Energy saving residential roofing is becoming more and more sought after and the reasons are two-fold.
Firstly, energy costs have skyrocketed in recent years, with homeowners searching for ways to save on bills. Secondly, Australians are becoming more eco-conscious, and in turn, are wanting to build more sustainable homes.
Energy costs, whether it be gas or electricity, are at all-time highs. In fact, power prices alone have more than doubled over the last five years, becoming a huge expense for many homeowners.
A recent study by independent consumer advocacy group Choice revealed that electricity prices, health and food are the top three concerns for householders. Coupled with this, media coverage about power prices, and blackouts has kept this topic front of mind for many people.
Monier Roofing, who have been putting roofs on Australian homes for 100 years, believe choosing energy saving roofing is a no brainer these days; especially when considering the fact that the cost of solar is falling by an average of 19 percent per annum.
“It's no wonder most homeowners are considering adding solar to their roof,” Monier’s product manager Meena Somi says.
“People are slowly realising that you wouldn’t build a home without insulations, so why build a home and not have solar.”
Arcpanel’s director of sales and marketing Christian Webb agrees that energy saving roofing is one of the best ways to cut down on bills while simultaneously supporting the environment.
This is because one of biggest influences on the energy efficiency of a home is the type of roof that it has over it.
“A substantial amount of heat loss and heat gain is through the roof,” Webb says
“In particular heat gain with our Australian climate which drives the need to insulate the roof to protect against the harsh Australian sun and reduce the cooling demands of the building.”
In theory it sounds like energy saving roofing is a good idea, but can it be aesthetically pleasing at the same time?
Monier’s Somi says getting solar roofing to look good was certainly a challenge in the past, with standard solar panels often detracting from the look of the home.
“Until recently, homeowners have traditionally invested heavily into designing and building their dream homes, but only had one option when it came to choosing solar for their homes,” she says.
Today the focus has shifted towards improving aesthetics.
To meet this emerging need, Monier teamed up with Bradford, a leading supplier of energy saving products for homes and commercial buildings.
The partnership has allowed Monier to combine its roofing expertise with Bradford’s experience as energy experts.
Backed by CSR, Monier has presented a new range of innovative, high performance roofing solutions that don’t compromise on style.
Unlike traditional solar panels, Monier’s InlineSOLAR and SOLARTiles are embedded within the roofline, integrating seamlessly with the rest of the tiles.
Both products are available for reroofing existing homes or building an entirely new home.
“Monier InlineSOLAR was the first fully integrated, modular flat solar panel system on the Australian market,” Somi says.
“The slimline system is recess-mounted within the roofline, meaning that it sits flush with the roof to provide all the benefits of solar whilst maximising the street appeal of a home.”
She said it’s “elegant low profile” also meant it was less prone to damage and wear than conventional systems.
InlineSOLAR is compatible with the full range of Monier roof tiles, which are available in classic terracotta or contemporary concrete finish.
Monier SOLARtile, on the other hand, is a concrete tile-based modular system that integrates with existing roof tiles and is built to withstand a beating from the elements.
“The system can be used in conjunction with sarking to prevent condensation and mould build-up, thus minimising the risk of structural damage to the roof surface and the supporting structure,” she says.
The modular nature of Monier SOLARtile means it can be installed in virtually any configuration.
SOLARTile in action: Oxford Falls, NSW
This ‘American lux’ style home design by Architect Tom Potter is set on a 1.6 hectare block in Sydney's Oxford Falls.
The roof needed to be high pitched, sleek and streamlined across the different planes of the roofline. The homeowners wanted a dark, grey to black colour.
They chose the Monier Cambridge roof tile because it had the look, the fire rating (the house is situated in a bush fire prone area) and the colour they wanted, as well as the thermal mass advantages of roof tiles when comes to energy efficiency.
Luckily, the Monier SOLARtile integrates seamlessly with a Cambridge roof tile.
The owners were adamant that they wanted solar power. The house has a lot of roof area and faces north-east and with electricity prices continually on the rise, they wanted to be as independent as they could be.
They looked at solar panels, but really didn't like them appearance of them, classing them as '”plain ugly”. They didn't want to ruin the lines and aesthetics of their roof and home.
Now they have a solar efficient solution that fully integrates with the roof line.
InlineSOLAR in action: Brisbane QLD
The roof on this new-build Brisbane coastal-inspired house is fitted out with Monier Cambridge Concrete Colour roof tiles in Soho Night, along with InlineSOLAR.
The end result is a cool coastal look using a slate-inspired roof tile topped off with A-line ridging.
InlineSOLAR allowed the solar panels to integrate flawlessly into the roofline, giving a streamlined look while still allowing them to save hundreds of dollars on their electricity costs.
The difference in the family’s bills since moving into the new house in September 2017 has been remarkable with their regular electricity bills dropping from $900 down to $350.
This family is resoundingly pleased with their solar roofing, saying they’d much rather be paying off a solar unit than giving that money away to their energy provider.
Arcpanel Roof Systems, on the other hand, use energy efficient and sustainable insulated panel systems, to create more energy efficient roofing.
They also focus on creating the right building design to suit the local climate and environment.
Arcpanel’s philosophy is that the future of the building industry is in sustainable and efficient products and systems.
The roof panels consist of a top sheet and bottom sheet of Colorbond steel bonded to an insulated core.
“It’s designed not only to provide a significant thermal performance but is also a fantastic spanning panel and cantilevering panel,” Webb says.
“This not only insulates the internal space of the building, but can provide outstanding cantilevering which can provide shade solutions over windows for the summer sun,” he says.
An Arcpanel roof reduces heating and cooling requirements providing a higher comfort level, reducing energy costs.
Camp Mountain Farmhouse, QLD
Designed by Architect Paolo Denti and his team from PentArchi, this beautiful farmhouse at Camp Mountain in Queensland was built for the future with sustainability at its core.
Denti says the brief from the owner-builder was to have an energy efficient, modern rural residence.
He and his team met the challenge of creating a home that fit the “green and clean” brief.
For the boomerang-shaped roof, the Arcpanel 140mm Custom Panel was used to create the floating form above the steel-framed home. The roof can also be used to harvest rainwater, while the wide eaves keep the sun off the windows and enhance the floating effect of the roof.
East Kurrajong, NSW
Arcpanel points to this East Kurrajong project in NSW as great example of their energy efficient roofing in action.
For this project, the homeowners chose the Arcpanel Firetek product.
Firetek was developed off the back of the Victorian bushfires and is used in areas where a Bal 40 bushfire rating is required. The product is a pre-fabricated insulated panel that consists of two Colorbond sheets, bonded to a fire-retardant PIR core.
Because of the home’s rural setting the heating and cooling demands are quite high so the client was keen to use the Arcpanel for thermal qualities, fire resistance and to harvest rainwater.
They also added solar to generate power and go off grid. The Firetek panel itself plays a key part in reducing the energy load of the building, whilst providing “significant cantilevers” for passive shade control and heat control.
The roof also helps to provide a comfortable environment for the homeowners, with low risk and peace of mind should a Bal 40 situation should occur.
Tractile: Strathmore, Victoria
Another top energy saving roofing solution is the Eclipse solar PV tile by Tractile. These large format tiles not only generate electricity but also preheat water to 30 or 35°C through water channels in the back of the tile.
Designed with a focus on aesthetics, these tiles form part of an interlocking system of high performance composite materials and solar. This deliver a 4-in-1 solution for roofing, insulation, electricity, and heated water.
Tractile’s CEO Jason Perkins says a great example of the Eclipse Solar PV tile in use was is on a beautiful new family home in Strathmore, Victoria designed by award winning architect Michael Ong.
“The client wanted the very best. He really likes the integrated features which give a seamless look between the solar and non-solar tiles,” Perkins says.
The home has a fascinating roof design with four different roof planes.
“It was beautiful project to be associated with, great attention to detail, a great quality build,” Perkins says.
He says the Eclipse solar PV tile was able to fulfill the client’s brief of wanting “a beautiful looking roof that gave them energy independence”.
Bondor in Action: Stafford Heights, Queensland
Australian roofing company Bondor offers eco-friendly insulated roofing systems through its InsulRoof, SolarSpan and MetecnoSpan products. These all-in-one roofing solutions include an external steel roof, ceiling, insulation and structure.
The heat blocking high performance insulation supports energy-efficiency in the home by reducing reliance on heating and cooling systems.
Bondor SolarSpan was the roofing of choice for a new Stafford Heights home in Queensland designed by architect Matt Riley of Tonic Design.
From a design perspective alone, SolarSpan eliminated the need for traditional trusses meaning the home owners could enjoy higher ceilings to provide more open and spacious living areas.
The homeowner wanted sustainability to be a “fundamental” part of the build and said the high
performance insulated core found in SolarSpan roofing panels means they very rarely find the need for continuous air conditioning or heating in their new home.
Arcpanel’s Christian Webb says he expected that people’s interest in energy efficient roofing would only continue to grow.
“There has been an increased awareness of energy usage and sustainability that has driven the need for there to be changes through the building code of Australia, he says.
“This puts the impetus back on the architect or designer of the building and its stakeholders to ensure that buildings can run efficiently.”
“The days of buildings being built with absolutely no regard to insulation of the building envelope those days are gone.”
Now rather than pumping air conditioning through an uninsulated building to regulate the temperature, it has to be built to minimise the energy usage in the first place.
Webb says he was proud to be part of a business that supports a greener way of doing things.
As for Monier’s Meena Somi, she believes that eco-friendly roofing was definitely the way of the future.
“From adding beauty and value to your property to lowering energy bills, cutting pollution and bringing you more independence from the grid, our solar roofing gives back to you in ways that other power sources cannot”.
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