It’s been pretty hot recently. If you are living in a densely populated city, you may feel even hotter due to the heat island effect. As you may be wearing a light-colored shirt and hiding under an air conditioner to avoid the summer heat, your roof is suffering from excessive heat and gets much hotter than you can imagine. This is because your roof is absorbing the heat. And the heat is transferred to the building, rising the temperature of the entire building
However, simply by changing the materials of your roof, things can be completely different. With a cool roof, you are able to save money, benefit the environment, and keep your building cool in the summer.
In short, a cool roof is a roof that does not absorb heat. According to Green Building Alliance, about 90% of all roofs in the U.S. are designed with dark, non-reflective, heat-absorbing materials. As a result, when the temperature is high, most roofs will absorb heat and reach up to 90 degrees. This not only makes your building hotter, but also contributes to the heat island effect. Green Building Alliance also said that the average city air temperature can be 5.4°F higher than its surrounding countryside during the day, and up to 22°F higher during the night.
Unlike the common heat-absorbing roof built with poorly-designed materials, a cool roof is usually white or reflective. It scatters the radiation and heat back to space. As a result, it reduces the temperature of your building, keeps them cool, and keeps the Earth cool.
One of the most common materials used to build a cool roof is special reflective pigments that reflect sunlight through a very thick coating that protects the roof from UV light. Depending on the slope of the roof, the roof material can be very different. According to the Department of Energy, people can attach pre-fabricated sheets to the existing roof, have modified bitumen sheet membranes, or spray polyurethane foam built into the roof in the factory before installing it.
For steep sloped roofs, people can use cool asphalt shingles to cover the roof, or use clay, slate, or concrete to build the roof in order to reflect heat. Another easy way to reduce the heat absorbed by your roof is building a green roof–simply by growing plants on it.
A cool roof does not necessarily cost more than a regular roof, especially when you are installing a new roof to your building. However, if you are renovating your old roof, material costs, labor and maintenance may add up to become expensive. Nonetheless, after installing a cool roof, you will save money on your air conditioning bill throughout the lifespan of the cool roof.
According to the Cool Roof Rating Council, the main benefits of a cool roof include:
It is wonderful if you think about this before building your roof. You can simply choose a cool roof material to build the roof or mix several cooling materials to build a hybrid cool roof.
However, if you never thought of this problem before and you just realized it today, you can still get a cool roof by recovering or retrofitting your roof with specialized heat-reflective materials.
Installing a cool roof is good not only for yourself and your business, but also for the Earth. Seeing one office building in the community adapt a cool roof can effectively encourage other surrounding buildings to take the same action. You may end up saving more money on your utility bills while still keeping yourself and your employees comfortable.
If you are interested in the cool roof and wish to learn more about it, feel free to click here to contact our energy experts for a free consultation.
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