A cool roof reduces cooling load and helps mitigate the urban heat island effect. There are two primary types of cool roofs:
- Light-colored roofs with reflective surfaces
- "Green" roofs with a vegetative layer
Both options require upfront investment, as well on ongoing maintenance. For these reasons, cool roofs are frequently installed during a roof replacement project or major retrofit. Cool roofs help buildings qualify for LEED certification.
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How it Works
Traditional, dark-colored roofing materials absorb sunlight, making them warm in the sun and heating the building. White or special cool color roofs absorb less sunlight, staying cooler in the sun and transmitting less heat into the building.
A green roof, or rooftop garden, is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air.
How You Save
A cool roof reduces the amount of heat transferred into the building by using materials that reflect sunlight and radiate thermal energy. This reduces HVAC load if the building is air conditioned, or lowers the inside air temperature if the building is not cooled.
Cool roofs are best suited for buildings that are:
- Located in hot climates with long cooling seasons
- Getting a new roof, or undergoing a renovation
- Seeking LEED certification
- Occupied by environmentally-conscious tenants
Reflective roofs must be cleaned to maintain their efficacy, and green roofs require irrigation and regular maintenance.