What color roof is the coolest?

white flat roof

Cool roofing systems

Everyone is trying to cut back expenses these days and not just in our homes, but businesses are too.  One of the biggest expenses is utilities, and the biggest contributor to that is cooling and heating. If you think cooling your home of 1,250 square feet, imagine what commercial property owner paid to cool 125,000 square feet!  This leads us to the discussion at hand today: Cool Roofing Systems. 

What is cool roofing systems in the commercial building sector, what does cool roofing mean? Cool roofing in a commercial size building is an evolving, powerful technology for controlling a building’s temperature and the surrounding area. Cool roofing prevents the absorption of the sun’s heat by reflecting it radiating its back into the atmosphere. By doing this, cool roofs allow for a more comfortable and controlled indoor environment.

What is the most energy efficient roof?

Today, roofing is designed to absorb less and reflect more in the summer months, much like we do our clothing. This has environmentally and monetary purposes.  Finding the right type of roofing material is key in making a commercial structure more energy-efficient, and cool roofing is one answer that is growing in popularity. 

What type of roofing material has improved energy efficiency for commercial structures with a flat roof? There are a couple of different materials and processes; which one is the best for which structure is dependent on the environment where the structure is located. What is good for a building in the far northern regions may not be what is best for a building located in the southernmost parts where cool roofing is a popular option with the hot summers. 

TPO (Thermoplastic) roofing is heat reflective and UV-resistant. TPO roofing also provides a durable, high performance with a water-tight seal. For low-maintenance roofing that is flexible and versatile, PVC roofing is a popular choice for cool roofing options. An experienced commercial roofing contractor specializing in flat roofing can perform a roof inspection and give you the best advice on which type of roofing is best for your building that will give you the most energy efficiency and longest life for a higher ROI. 

What color roof reflects the most heat?

Heat enters through the windows and the roofing. Energy-efficient windows are one way to minimize the heat from entering your building. Light-colored exterior walls and roofing are also helpful in minimizing heat absorption. The use of light colors isn’t any secret. In fact, it is time-honored in many parts of the world. Here in America, only in the past couple of decades have we taken colors and cool roofing seriously. 

A light-colored roof considered cool roofing is made with cool roofing materials highly reflective, aka high albedo. That high reflectiveness has up to eighty-five percent incident solar radiation. A conventional surface reflects 20% or less. 

Cool roofing has a longer lifespan with the right material because it reflects the UV rays, minimizing the thermal stress that conventional roofs are under. The cooling and heating of a roofing contracts and expands, causing it to buckle and crack. 

Choosing a commercial roofing material in beige, light gray, and white for the most UV-reflectiveness on hot, strong sunny days. It will have less contraction and expansion, giving it a longer life. Choosing a material for cool roofing should have a reflectance measurement between zero and one, with zero being the best absorber and one being the best reflector. The emissivity is another measurement in cool roofing surface heat emission of a 1.0 for the ideal exterior surface coating. The color white is the color that best meets all of the tolerances for cool roofing. 

flat roof cool roof

What is the coolest roofing material?

There are several commercial roofing forms, each having features that work best for budget purpose and building needs. The type of roofing a commercial property has performs an integral role in the building’s overall health and the roof’s longevity. Other factors that need to be considered in choosing a commercial roof are: 

  • Surrounding environment
  • Typical weather 
  • Other variables like critters and foliage

Roofing materials and their ability to provide cool roofing benefits are: 

  • BUILT-UP ROOFING or BUR MEMBRANE:  The standard tar-and-gravel roofing that consists of multiple layers is a flexible roof type because you can determine the number of layers to control the cost and  meet the durability requirements. Cost effective for low-slope roof systems and tough for today’s roofing standards. 
  • METAL ROOFING: Metal roofing is an extremely popular commercial roof type, but susceptible to rusting there needs to be a protective surface layer added to manage to prolong exposure to environment and sunlight. Advantage of metal commercial roofing is the attractive finish, but for budget and durability, maybe not the best choice. It does offer a  strong fire resistance and is more durable and stronger compared to traditional options in commercial roofing, offering a sustainable design.
  • MODIFIED BITUMEN ROOFING: This roofing system is generally a 2-ply that is fastened to a commercial rooftop by adhering to the roofing deck for maximum protection and stability.  The reinforced roof fabrics act as “carriers” and are cut and installed in layers like the BUR membranes mentioned earlier. Minimal maintenance required, annual cleaning and inspections recommended. For a commercial roof that has heavy foot traffic, this is the ideal roofing material. 
  • EPDM or THERMOSET ROOF: EPDM roofing is a single-ply rubber material that offers long-lasting durability, simple installation, easy maintenance and repairs, a versatile roofing material with a strong chemical, ozone, and UV resistance. A flexible material in cold temperatures with reflective properties that are beneficial to the cooling costs.
  • PVC and TPO or THERMOPLASTIC ROOF: These are lightweight roofing systems that are highly reflective, with excellent weathering abilities. They are chemical, puncture, tear, and UV light resistant and with a seam strength that  allows a second-generation application. Fire, high temperature, and wind resistant as well.
  • GREEN ROOFING: For natural cool roofing that is versatile, green roofing is ideal for a commercial roof. They have been used in Europe for decades and are becoming more popular in the United stated in recent years. A sustainable option that provides protection from the elements as it manages drainage and improves  energy efficiency. 

With all this information, a commercial building owner would want to know is a cool roof worth it? This is understandable because getting a new roof isn’t not an inexpensive project. So is cool roofing worth the expense and trouble? 

The immediate install cost of changing your roofing over to a different material is going to be a hit to the budget.  With the proper research to get a cool roofing material, you will see the difference in utilities each month will be the recoup factor. Call 918-280-9661 today for your cool roofing system in Tulsa, OK.