Growing up in the Northeast, fall and winter equate to cold temperatures and a strong possibility of snow and freezing rain. While I can appreciate the beauty of snow, personally anything below 60 degrees is too cold for my blood. I like to imagine living somewhere warm all year long. That being said, there are many of you living my dream in those warmer climates, so high heating bills are not on your radar and a cool roof that helps lower cooling costs would likely be a better investment. Are you wondering what a cool roof is?
Just like light-colored or white clothing helps keep you cool in tropical climates, buildings, whether commercial or residential, benefit the same way. Light colors reflect heat and sunlight, while dark colors do the opposite, absorbing the heat and light.
Cool roofs are made of materials that reflect the sun's energy from the roof surface. Low-slope roofs, typically commercial, are mainly bright white in color. Understandably, you may not want a gleaming white roof on your home. While it would do a fantastic job at keeping the heat out of your home, it may not ascetically be desirable. Manufacturers are beginning to produce more non-white options of cool roofs as the demand for sloped roof applications increases.
Helping reduce energy costs, a cool roof can reduce the roof surface temperature by up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in a major reduction in the heat transferred into the building below. The greatest benefit comes in the form of reduced energy costs and increased indoor comfort. Installing a cool roof will provide dramatic savings on electricity bills, helping with the air conditioning costs, save peak electricity demand costs and even reduce the air pollution and smog formation.
Consider a cool roof if you plan to replace your roof and are fortunate enough to be living somewhere where you require air conditioning 8 months out of the year. I'll be here by my heater, cold and jealous. Keep in mind however that cool roofs are not just beneficial in the southern climates; they can also help with cost savings in the north. There are many debates concerning the use of cool roofs in cooler climates but if you understand the pros and cons along with how proper design ties all of this together, you can make the best choice for your building and location and still realize the energy saving benefits of a cool roof.
Photo © Jurin Roofing Services, Inc. Reflective TPO cool roof system.