Why would I want a Cool Roof?
There are many reasons to want a Cool Roof. Here are some of the best reasons:
A Cool Roof is designed to reflect heat and sunlight off the building before it can be absorbed. Otherwise, especially during the summer months, the additional heat absorbing into a building causes an increase in costly energy usage for air conditioning.
By reducing the energy demand in large urban air conditioned buildings, we can reduce power plant emissions and reduce the strain on the electrical grid. In the summer, those buildings will stay cooler simply because of their white roofs. In the winter, while white roofs will admittedly reflect some desired heat gain, the summertime energy-reduction benefits far outweigh the winter costs.
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “The winter heating penalty is outweighed by summer cooling savings of a Cool Roof in most of the U.S., except where the chart is bright green in the north.”
Reducing the need for expensive air conditioning for large urban buildings considerably reduces costs, with average energy savings ranging from 7-15%. Moreover, reducing the usage of existing air conditioning systems prolongs their lifespan. Similarly, a Cool Roof has been shown to lower roof maintenance costs and to extend its lifespan. In some cities, utility rebates are available for white roof-installed buildings.
Improving the Comfort of Indoor Spaces
On a summer afternoon, the temperature of a hot black roof can be as much as 150°F. While a white roof on that same day can be 50-60°F cooler. For buildings without air conditioning, this can be a considerable difference to the interior quality of the air.
Decreasing the amount of energy used for heating and cooling a building can significantly decrease the production of greenhouse gas emissions and consequently environmental pollution.
Mitigating Your Community’s Urban Heat Island Effect
The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon whereby the surfaces of buildings, particularly in cities, absorb and retain heat from the sun and warm the areas around them. These “islands” of heat increase the air temperatures in the surrounding areas, but also increase temperatures inside buildings, necessitating the use of air conditioning and artificial temperature controls.
Large commercial buildings are particularly ideal for reducing the urban heat island effect in that they have the greatest surface areas for reflecting heat and light. As detailed above, the general reduction in surface temperatures reduces energy consumption, aids in reducing overall greenhouse gas pollution, and saves money for both private entities and the community at large.
Click the following links to see if your building would benefit from the Buffalo Cool Roof Project, how to convert your roof into a Cool Roof, and don’t forget to join our Buffalo Cool Roof Community and do something positive for our city and the world!