Five benefits of installing a Cool Roof
A cool roof reflects and emits the sun’s energy as light back to the sky instead of allowing it to enter the building below as heat. In many climate zones, a cool roof can substantially reduce the cooling load of the building, providing several direct benefits to the building owner and occupants: • increased occupant comfort, especially during hot summer months • reduced air conditioning use, resulting in energy savings and decreased roof maintenance costs due to longer roof life.
Cool roofs directly reduce green house gas emissions by conserving electricity for air conditioning therefore emitting less CO2 from power plants. Cool roofs also cool the world independently of avoided carbon emissions, simply by reflecting the sun’s energy as light back to the atmosphere, thereby mitigating global warming. A Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that world-wide reflective roofing will produce a global cooling effect equivalent to offsetting 24 gigatons of CO2 over the lifetime of the roofs. This equates to $600 billion in savings from CO2 emissions reduction.2 Cities can be 2° to 8°F warmer than surrounding areas due to dark materials, including roofs, which absorb the sun’s light energy as heat during the day and release it at night as heat.3 This phenomenon removes the opportunity for air to cool down at night and results in higher temperatures being maintained longer. By immediately reflecting solar radiation back into the atmosphere and re-emitting some portion of it as infrared light, cool roofs result in cooler air temperatures for the surrounding urban environment during hot summer months. Cool roofs, through mitigation of the urban heat island effect and reduction of ambient air temperatures, in turn improve air quality. Smog is created by photochemical reactions of air pollutants and these reactions increase at higher temperatures. Therefore, by reducing the air temperature, cool roofs decrease the rate of smog formation. Lower ambient air temperatures and the subsequent improved air quality also result in a reduction in heat-related and smog-related health issues, including heat stroke and asthma.
Because cool roofs reduce air-conditioning use during the day’s hottest periods, the associated energy savings occur when the demand for electricity is at its peak. Therefore, use of cool roofs reduces the stress on the energy grid during hot summer months and helps avoid shortages that can cause blackouts or brownouts. In addition, for building owners that pay for their energy based on the time of use, they save energy when it is at its most expensive and hence, save more money! Cool roofs directly reduce the air conditioning use for buildings by reducing heat gain in the building below, but they also indirectly reduce air conditioning use in urban areas by helping lower ambient air temperatures. Therefore, with cooler daytime temperatures, buildings and vehicles use less air conditioning and save additional energy.
This eco-friendly approach to roofing utilizes basic knowledge to create a more energy-efficient home. Just as wearing lighter colors keeps our bodies cooler when it’s hot outside, a lighter colored roof can help keep your home cool while the sun is beaming down on it.
FIVE benefits of installing a Cool Roof
- The most obvious benefit of installing a cool roof is your energy savings. Since cool roofs do not absorb as much heat from the sun, your home will be colder. This means you will not have to use your air conditioning as much during summer months. Who doesn’t want to save money?
- Not only would you save money by using less energy, you’d also be helping Mother Nature by reducing carbon emissions from power plants. With 32%of all carbon emissions originating from electricity consumption, we could stand to cut back our demand for the sake of the environment.
- If you’re using less electricity, you’re contributing less to the peak demand for it. This can help reduce power outages as well as avoid those peak demand rates. Lower energy rates means you’d be paying even less with a cool roof because you’re consuming less at a lower rate. What’s not to like about that?
- If you and your neighbors installed cool roofs, you could reduce your local air temperature. Have you heard of the urban heat island effect? An “urban heat island” is a densely populated area that is lacking natural moisture as a result of infrastructure in the place of vegetation and open spaces. This lack of moisture causes a surface, such as a roof, to increase its temperature to 50-90 degrees Fahrenheithotter than the actual air. Cool roofs can significantly reduce this effect, especially in mass quantities, by putting off less heat than darker, traditional roofs.
- Decreasing your roof’s temperature can also extend its life. When a dark roof absorbs heat, it stresses the construction and as a result, shortens its lifespan. Of course, a lot of a roof’s life expectancy is related to the materials it’s built with. However, regardless of the material, if a roof is absorbing less heat, it won’t deteriorate as quickly.
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