I’m pleased to announce that our industry continues to take proactive steps to help roofing professionals promote the energy saving benefits of today’s roofing systems. Specifically, there are two online roofing energy calculators that are or will soon be available that every roofing contractor should be familiar with.


Originally released ten years ago by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), the EnergyWise Roof Calculator (www.energywise.nrca.net) is one of the most widely-used energy evaluation tools for roofing. In addition, the NRCA has done an excellent job of updating and improving the calculator over the last decade. In the latest version, several new features have been added that will make the calculator even more useful. First, it’s updated with the latest model energy codes, including the 2015 version of the International Energy Conservation Code. Next, it now offers a feature that can determine the temperature gradient through a roof assembly, and present the information graphically in a report. According to the NRCA, users will find this feature beneficial when evaluating a vapor retarder’s effectiveness.

Without a doubt the most important feature of EnergyWise is the downloadable report users can generate that details the energy savings offered by different roofing systems. The professional look of the report can help any roofing professional provide added value to customers, and it’s very easy to add to formal roofing proposals and quotations. 

Roof Savings Calculator

The Roof Savings Calculator (RSC) is the latest online roof energy tool developed by Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL), and it offers an outstanding array of features. Similar to the Cool Roof Calculator developed by ORNL over a decade ago, the RSC (rsc.ornl.gov/) provides the best way to quickly and effectively evaluate the value of roof insulation and roof-surface reflectivity in roofing systems. Reflectivity is important and isn’t included in the NRCA EnergyWise calculator at this time.

Key features of the new RSC:

  • It unifies a number of competing cool roof calculators that occasionally provided different results.
  • It models both residential (attic insulation) and commercial (insulation above deck) buildings.
  • It provides three different commercial building options (multi-story office, retail “big box”, semi-conditioned warehouse).
  • It incorporates climate data for 243 different locations across North America.
  • It includes options for local energy costs and HVAC unit efficiencies.
  • It covers multiple roof options: System type, radiant barrier, ventilation, roof reflectivity, attic and above-deck insulation, ductwork location.
  • It incorporates a feature for companies to connect the calculator to in-house estimating and quotation programs.

All told, the RSC is exactly what the roofing industry needs to provide fast, accurate assessments of roof energy savings. There is an exception: the current calculator is published as a Beta version with the caveat that, “results from the current version of the RSC may be inaccurate.” Not exactly what you’d want to include in a proposal to a potential customer.

The inclusion of this caveat is the unfortunate result of a few minor programming glitches ORNL was unable to fix within its original budget for the RSC. And, like many government-sponsored projects in recent years, no additional money was available to fix this problem. Fortunately, the roofing industry has joined together with over a dozen industry associations pledging funds against a 100 percent matching grant from the RCI Foundation. This made over $100,000 available to address the hidden software glitches, and everyone involved with the effort is confident that the calculator will be available in its final version early in 2017.

If you haven’t used EnergyWise or the Roof Savings Calculator to strengthen your proposals, I recommend you check out the websites and start integrating these useful tools into your sales and marketing activities.