Cool Roof: Top 8 Things to Know

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There are many benefits to having a cool roof. If you own or manage a commercial building, adding a cool roof can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year and reduce your carbon footprint. In addition, a cool roof can help improve the well-being of people working in the building — it improves air quality by reducing the reliance on air conditioning to cool indoor air. 

Of course, when talking about a cool roof, we’re not speaking about the amazing roof on the Sydney Opera House or an attractive Chinese Pagoda. A cool roof is a functional roofing system to reflect heat away from the building. Also, cool roofs last longer — they are constructed from more durable materials than traditional roofs.

What are the essential facts about a cool roof that you need to know? This article discusses eight things about the installation process and why this roofing solution is viable for most property owners. 

What is a Cool Roof?

A cool roof uses reflective technology to direct sunlight and heat away from a building. The higher thermal emittance prevents the building from heating up during hot, sunny days. Cool roofing materials can be metal panels, reflective tiles, roofs painted with solar-reflective paint, or have a protective thermoplastic membrane installed. 

8 Things to Know About Cool Roofs

Many people are worried about climate change and rising energy costs. However, using new technology like cool roofs is an effective and budget-friendly way to cut carbon emissions and cut your demand for energy. In fact, a cool roof makes a building eco-friendlier without implementing any radical changes to behavior or investing a lot of resources.

Here are eight surprising facts about the benefits of having a cool rooftop on your commercial building or residential property.

1. Cool roofs can slash energy bills

The most significant benefit is that a cool roof improves energy efficiency in the summer. Because the ambient temperature in a building is lower, you use less energy to cool it on hot, sunny days. For example, a 2018 study reported that a cool roof coating could cut household energy consumption by 190 kWh per 10 sq. ft. per year. And the reduction in ceiling temperature could be up to 9°F cooler. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (FDA), the average net savings could be as much as 50 cents per square foot. This figure includes the cost of installing the roof and increased heating bills in winter.

2. Reduces heat islands

Because a cool roof reflects the sun’s energy and prevents thermal heat from being absorbed into the roofing material, ambient outdoor temperatures are lower during summer. The difference in temperature between a standard roof and a cool roof can be as much as 60°F. This reduction helps to reduce overall air temperatures in cities. 

During hot summer months, a rooftop can get as hot as 190°F. 

Did you know that daytime temperatures in cities can be as much as 7°F warmer than in the surrounding countryside? On the other hand, some estimates say that a lighter color on a roof’s surface could lower ambient temperatures by 5°F or 6°F. 

Another surprising statistic to know is that cool roofs could reduce heat-related deaths in urban areas by one-quarter. 

3. Improves air quality in metropolitan cities.

Cool roofs may have the answer when it comes to improving air quality in large cities. Warm air temperatures in urban environments help create ground-level ozone and trap emissions in the air. This effect can lead to smog and potentially harmful air quality. 

4. Cut greenhouse gas emissions

Because cool roofs lower the energy demand for cooling, there are fewer emissions from power plants. Some studies suggest the need to run air conditioners during summer could cause around 20 percent of smog in large cities. 

5. Solar panels help reduce roof temperature and energy costs 

Installing solar panels can help create a cool roof with even greater benefits from energy savings. Solar panels on a roof act as a physical barrier, preventing rooftops from heating up excessively. Additionally, they reflect some of the heat energy off the glass, making the building more energy-efficient. 

Of course, solar power is a free renewable energy source. So not only is your home cheaper to cool, but you also don’t have to buy as much energy for your household needs. In some locations, you can also sell this energy back to your provider. 

6. Cools roofs are better for the environment

One of the benefits of installing a cool roof is that your roofing system lasts longer. This is because UV radiation has the effect of slowly breaking down chemical compounds in roofing materials like asphalt shingles. So because cool roofs are designed to reflect these potentially harmful rays, they protect your roof’s integrity. 

What’s the benefit to the environment? First, less roofing waste goes to landfill. Also, you don’t need to repair or replace your roof as often — resulting in even more savings for you.

7. Cost-effective to install

It is good to know that cool roofs are relatively inexpensive to install. Of course, replacing any roof is a significant expense. So, how much would it take to turn a ‘hot’ rooftop into a cool roof? Here are some facts from the EPA:

  • A light-colored or reflective coating on a low-slope roof — $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot.
  • A single-ply membrane for a cool roof system — $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot.

A cool roof is slightly more expensive than a typical roof to install. However, there are significant overall long-term savings when you consider reduced energy costs and roof repairs. In addition, you are also doing your part in helping to combat climate change.

8. Few downsides

One of the drawbacks to having a cool roof is that it may take more to heat your home in cooler climates. However, in northern climates, this difference may be insignificant — there are fewer daylight hours and less sunshine to heat your home. And, if you don’t rely on air-conditioning in the summer to cool your home, the savings may be insignificant.

In Conclusion 

In many cases, installing a cool roofing system results in significant financial and environmental benefits. You may be surprised to learn how much your yearly savings could be by having an eco-friendly roof with high solar reflectance and thermal emittance. If you’re interested in getting a free estimate on eco-friendly roof replacement, call us at 813-373-9088 or fill out our easy online form.

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