Do Cool Roofs work?

cool roofing system

Cool roofing systems

A commercial size building can be expensive to maintain and operate, especially when it comes to the cooling and heating. With all the different flat roof materials available today, many commercial building owners are finding that a cool roof can do more for their expenses. 

Even with the dos and don’ts of a cool roof installation is still unfamiliar territory for most American commercial property owners, it is becoming more common, and even requested by many owners of new construction, especially in the cities. As the local and federal government are establishing laws that require a certain level of green building, and more companies are finding that by being green they are getting more business, a cool roof is an investment in the future.

The first questions that a building owner will ask is “What is a cool roof made of?”, because it is still “new” here in this country, not very many people can give a precise answer. A cool roof delivers a higher solar reflectance than the standard commercial roofing materials. It reflects the sun’s infrared, visible ultraviolet wavelengths and reduces heat transfer into the building. With this higher level of thermal emittance, it can radiate absorbed, or any non-reflected solar energy better than the standard designed roofing products. 

What is the coolest roofing material?

When you’re talking about having a commercial cool roof, there are a couple that are made for warm weather climates. Two of the most popular and commonly used ones are:

  • PVC Membrane: A durable, fire retardant cool roof material that offers longevity. One of the best cool roof materials you can have in case of fire because it self-extinguishes the fire, leaving you with little repairs or replacements needed. Chemical, moisture, and wind resistant in addition to resisting tears and punctures. The light colors these membrane sheets are available in provide a thick insulation and high energy efficiency that helps keep the cooling and heating bills lower. A cool roof with this material helps avoid that heat island effect common in warm climates and areas like inner-cities. 
  • TPO Membrane: This single ply cool roof material membrane is increasing in sales every year, an indication that it has made an impression amount commercial building owners. A cheaper cost for installation is a plus along with the durability and flexibility it offers. The stretchability of this material makes customized fabrication easier for the edge-to-edge installation in a more efficient manner. An eco-friendly material that is 100% recyclable, the slick surface provides good water run-off and with its lightweight, the stress on the structure is minimal. Comes in light colors of blue, gray, green, red, and tan that reflect heat, great for warm climate areas where a cool roof is desired. 

If a commercial building already had a roof installed that doesn’t need replacing yet, a cool roof and coating can be applied that has reflective pigments to reflect the UV rays. A commercial roofing contractor can advise if the existing roof can accept a coating and what type of coating is best. 

What color roof is the coolest?

White is always going to be the coolest color for anything, including a cool roof. However, if the commercial structure has a roof that is sloped with street  visibility, white may not go with the architectural style of the structure. In that case, a workable solution is to have a reflective coating applied to the existing surface to create a cool roof. 

flat roof

What color roof is most energy efficient?

For substantial cool roof energy savings, just like the light roofs are the coolest color for a cool roof, the same holds true. For a more energy efficient cool roof color in hotter climates, white is the better choice. However, color isn’t the only factor to consider for a cool roof. Other factors that need to be considered are: 

  • The current roofs age
  • The current roofs integrity
  • The current roofing material
  • The current amount of roofing insulation

Each of these play as big of a part in the effectiveness of a cool roof as the color choice. The color choice should be the last concern after each of the other factors are answered and resolved. 

Each city will have different cool roof guidelines to adhere to and follow as part of their building code laws. While these can be frustrating, the commercial building owner needs to consider the overall cool roof benefits they will have once their cool roof is in place: 

  • Conserves energy
  • Saves money
  • Reduces greenhouse gases 
  • Reduces air pollutants

With the benefits, it not only helps the owner and management of the commercial structure, but the environment around the structure as well. Installing a cool roof doesn’t have to take away from the architectural beauty and style of commercial structure either. Today, architects, builders, and designers are all working together to create a cool roof solution that will work with any architectural plans and the owner’s vision. Call 918-280-9661 today for your cool roofing needs in , OK.