Why Cool Roofs Are Hot
In a world where trapped heat is causing all sorts of ecological issues, it is a small wonder that cool roofs are steadily gaining ground. The simple yet revolutionary way these roof systems reflect the sun’s radiation (solar reflectance) and release heat to the surrounding atmosphere (thermal emittance) has opened up a whole suite of advantages for residential and commercial property owners. Below are three of their biggest benefits.
Why Cool Roofs Are Hot, Part One: Energy Savings
ENERGY STAR estimates the annual costs for air conditioning in the US to be around $40 million. Because cool roofs reflect up to 65% of the heat they absorb, they are able to take a huge load off your cooling systems. In the summer months, this can produce as much as a 50-degree difference between a space under a cool roof and one under a traditional roofing system. Your property’s peak cooling demand can be reduced by 10 to 15 percent. The end result? Considerable energy (and money!) savings.
On a bigger scale, cool roofs also help mitigate the cooling loads on entire communities, even cities. They do this by reducing the heat island effect. When there are more cool roofs in your area, more sunlight is reflected and less heat absorbed, resulting in lower energy consumption and better overall comfort in metropolitan communities.
To maximize the energy savings you could get from a cool roof, take the following factors into consideration:
- Your building design
- The climatic conditions in your area
- The type of insulation in your property (and whether or not you can improve it)
- Your building envelope’s energy efficiency
Bonus Tip: Free online tools such as the Roof Savings Calculator (RSC) by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can help you estimate annual energy savings based on your property’s heating and cooling loads. You can also consult the ANSI/CRRC-1 Standard for more information on the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of different roofing products.
Not sold yet? In Part Two of this blog series, we will discuss another hot benefit from cool roofs: prolonging your roofing system’s service life. That means—yep, even more savings. Stay tuned!