Each year, people in the United States spend approximately $40 billion on air conditioning, which could be diminished by cool roof coatings. This makes up a sixth of the electricity the entire country generates. Thankfully, there are solutions that can help keep cooling costs in check.
Cool roofs are specifically to maximize sunlight reflection, allowing the roof to absorb less heat than a typical roof would. If you’ve ever worn light clothing to stay cool during the summer, you’ve taken advantage of the same principles that cool roofs are designed around.
There are different ways to make a cool roof, including using reflective paint, tiles, or shingles. Cool roofs can benefit virtually all properties. Still, there are factors that should be taken into account prior to installation, such as the climate.
During the summer, standard roofs can hit temperatures higher than 150°F. Even in the same weather conditions, a cool roof can remain 50°F cooler. With a cool roof, building temperatures will be lower, making you less reliant on air conditioning.
The Advantages of Cool Roof Coatings
Cool roofs provide numerous benefits. Some of the advantages you’ll enjoy with a cool roof include:
* Lower energy bills thanks to a reduced need for air conditioning
* Increased comfort in spaces without air conditioning, like covered patios and garages
* Lowering roof temperature, potentially extending the lifespan of the roof
In addition to benefiting buildings, a cool roof provides environmental benefits. These benefits are even more significant when numerous properties have cool roofs installed. These benefits include:
* Lowered local air temperatures
* Lowered emissions, including nitrous oxides, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide
* Reduced peak electricity demand, which can reduce the risk of power outages
How Do Cool Roofs Work?
Cool roofs have a high solar reflectance, allowing them to lower roof temperatures by reflecting heat and sunlight. These roofs also have a high thermal emittance, especially in warmer and sunnier climates. The combination of these properties reduces the amount of heat that roofs absorb, keeping roofs as much as 50 to 60 degrees cooler than standard roofs would be under the same weather conditions.
For over three decades, cool roofing products have been utilized by both roofing contractors and building owners. It’s possible to install these products on the flat and low slope roofs that are frequently seen on commercial and industrial buildings, as well as on the steep-sloped roofs of retail and residential properties.
The Department of Energy and EPA identify energy efficient roofing products via the ENERGY STAR program. If roofing materials have the ENERGY STAR label, those products meet standards for reliability and solar reflectance.
According to data collected from over 150 ENERGY STAR partners in 2016, approximately 25% of commercial roof materials are cool roof products. Cool roof materials also make up 10% of residential roof products.
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The Costs and Benefits of Cool Roofs
While heat mitigation is one of the benefits offered by cool roofs, these materials also provide additional benefits, such as:
* Improved reflection of the sun’s rays. ENERGY STAR qualified products can significantly lower the surface temperature of a roof, which reduces the amount of heat that enters the building.
* Products that are ENERGY STAR certified can also make buildings less reliant on air conditioners, lowering peak cooling demand by as much as 10 to 15%
While reflective roofing has built-in benefits, consumers should use the Roof Savings Calculator on the Department of Energy website (rsc.ornl.gov) to estimate savings. This can make it easier to choose a suitable roofing product.
Consumers should also be aware that there are many factors that can have an impact on total energy savings, including the location, insulation, design and envelope efficiency of the building. Climate is also likely to be a major factor. During colder weather, cool roofs do deflect some wanted heat gain. Generally speaking, however, cool roof materials will lead to savings on energy, particularly in locations with high energy prices.
There are many factors that can impact the cost of cool roof coatings, such as the location of the property. With that said, cost of materials for a low slope roof will typically fall between $0.75 to $1.50 a square foot. For single-ply membrane, costs largely range from $1.50 to $3.00 a square foot.
When you compare the cost of cool roof materials to standard materials, there’s a difference of about 5 to 10 cents a square foot for the majority of products. For built-up roofs that use cool coating instead of aluminum coating or smooth asphalt, the difference will be around 10 to 20 per square foot.
According to a study conducted in California, the average yearly savings provided by cool roofs is close to 50 cents a square foot. This figure includes the price premium for these products as well as the higher heating costs during the winter season. The savings on energy costs during the summer, the freedom to downsize cooling equipment, and the increased lifespan of cool roofs all help to contribute to these savings. In most cases, cool roof materials will provide savings over conventional roofing materials.
Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors (512) 333-7663, provides commercial flat roof repair, commercial flat roof replacement and commercial flat roof installation services to Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities. We have been providing commercial roofing services to the area for over 19 years. When you need help with the coating of your flat roof, don’t hesitate to call us. If you have a commercial building with a metal roof, you can contact us through our other site – ArmadilloMetalRoofing.com.