Frequently Asked Questions about the Buffalo Cool Roof Project

What is a Cool Roof?

A Cool Roof is one that reflects sunlight so that they are not absorbed as heat into the building. Typically white paint or roofing product can be used to achieve this goal. Cool-colored roofing materials can also be used.

What are the advantages of a Cool Roof?

The many benefits of a Cool Roof include the conservation of energy, saving money on reduced energy bills, extending the viable lifetime of the roof, improving comfort in indoor spaces, and the reducing of pollutants such as greenhouse gas emissions. Ultimately, beyond monetary savings, the greatest benefit is improved health and comfort for all residents of our community.

What’s an urban heat island?

An urban heat island is the effective build up of heat in urban areas, particularly in the summer, making them considerably warmer than neighboring rural areas. Greater density of buildings and roads attract and retain heat from the sun, requiring additional energy consumption in order to keep human spaces comfortable. See our detailed page on mitigating the urban heat island effect for details.

Won’t this make our buildings cooler in winter too?

Due to the tilt of the Earth during winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the difference in temperature for a white roof building during the season is negligible. Very little sun is absorbed through the roofs in winter, due to the lack of sun as well as the build up of light-reflective snow. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “The winter heating penalty is outweighed by summer cooling savings of cool roofs in most of the U.S., except where the chart is bright green in the north.” See chart below:

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What do I need to do?

Simply locate your building using our ESRI-enabled mapping tool to determine if your building is suitable for a Cool Roof. If eligible, you should join the Buffalo Cool Roof Project and make a plan with the community for upgrading your building.

Is this free?

We hope that this project will pair community residents with contractor partners to provide a Cool Roof for free or a reduced cost to every building that can benefit from one. Interested in participating, by painting your roof, providing materials to this green project, or helping others? Make sure you join our mailing list!

Are there any further resources or information I can review on this topic?

Yes, there are many resources at your disposal, including in-depth scientific research from governmental agencies. Check out these links: