Energy Retrofit Market to Surge, and Bring Green Roofing Along for the Ride: Report

The White House wants to see the home energy retrofit market surge, and a new report announced today predicts a growing appetite for energy-efficient heaters, air conditioners and roofing materials, part of a larger trend in the growth of green home renovations. Overall, the U.S. home energy retrofit market will grow about 15 percent per year to $35 billion by 2013, up from $20.7 billion last year, according to SBI Energy. In that same time frame, the U.S. market for energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) retrofits is expected to reach $5.1 billion, growing at about 16 percent a year from $3.1 billion in 2008.


The U.S. market for energy-efficient roofing retrofits will reach $2.5 billion by 2013 from $1.4 billion last year (SBI deems roofing materials efficient if they meet Energy Star criteria, which is based on the amount of solar radiation a roof can reflect away from a home). Metal roofing, accounting for about 8 percent of the residential roofing market last year, up from 4 percent in 2000, is currently the most common type of material used for cool roofs, according to SBI. Green, or living, roofs, where plants cover part of or the entire roof (pictured above), are another option, but the high cost premium (about two times) over metal roofs is a barrier to market penetration.

Both industries – HVAC and roofing production – are currently dominated by a handful of large manufactures, such as Carrier for residential and light-commercial heating and cooling equipment and Owens Corning for roofing material. But these trends should provide opportunities for startups. Home energy retrofitters, for example, like Sustainable Spaces stand to gain, as do companies with innovative materials like Clean Tech Open finalist tru2earth, which is developing roofing tiles from recycled plastic.

The primary driver of home energy retrofit growth in 2010 will be the stimulus package, SBI predicts in its report. The bill includes $5 billion to weatherize low-income houses, a tax credit for homeowners for 30 percent of the cost of home energy-efficiency improvements, and $300 million to promote energy-efficient appliance purchasing. It’s not surprising that energy-saving heating, cooling, and roofing products would gain traction as the residential green retrofit market picks up steam. But beyond 2010, growth will come from the “natural rise in the construction and remodeling cycle,” coupled with consumers’ growing interest in reducing their energy bills.

Green roof installation photo courtesy of Flickr user