The Benefits of a Cool Roofing System

Cool roofings cut cooling loads by as much as 20 percent through using reflective materials that limit solar heat gain. A traditional cool roofing functions light-colored surfaces – shades that industrial centers with flat or low-sloped roofs find acceptable. However, homeowners generally choose the visual appeals of darker colors for their steep-sloped roofings.


California Codes and Standards.

A few of the cool-colored roof items that arise from this research study may certify as cool roofs in the California structure energy code (the 2005 Title 24 California Building Energy Efficiency Standard), which worked on Oct. 1, 2005. To receive compliance credit as a cool roofing system under the brand-new code, a roofing product need to have a minimum initial solar reflectance of 70 percent. An exception is made for clay tiles to be utilized on residential structures, which need to have a minimum initial solar reflectance of 40 percent. Cool roofings will be revisited in the 2008 Title 24 standards, which may consist of incentives for using colored products with lower levels of reflectivity.



Residential applications are the main target for cool-colored roofing products, because homes tend to have steep-slope roofings and aesthetics are a vital concern. Likewise, cool roofing systems work best in hotter environments. In more moderate climates, the heating load penalty has the tendency to offset the cooling energy cost savings. (See Figure 2.) Nevertheless, some business facilities have year-round cooling loads, and high slopes and would for that reason be good prospects for cool-colored roofing systems, no matter what climate area they are in.


Features and Benefits.

Solar reflectance – the portion of the sun’s incident radiation that a material’s surface area shows – is a sign of how cool a roofing system will be. Other components being equivalent, the greater the solar reflectance of the material, the cooler the roof will be. With funding from the general public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, a couple of makers have developed dark-colored shingles for use on steep-slope roofs that provide a reflectivity of 25 percent or more. Standard dark-colored, steep-slope products have solar reflectance’s of about 4 to 18 percent, whereas a light-colored cool roofing offers a reflectivity of about 70 percent. Elk Premium Building Products, a shingle producer that is using granules established by 3M, provides 5 shingle products with reflectance’s of 25 percent to 27 percent in popular colors, such as slate and gray.

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To help manufacturers guarantee that cool roof products will stand the test of time, the PIER-funded cool-colored roof materials program supplies field-testing and analysis services. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed a steep-slope test assembly at its facility in Tennessee to evaluate samples from making partners. Researchers are measuring the changes in physical structure and look as a result of direct exposure to ultraviolet light, weathering, and temperature modifications.

A team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and ORNL has likewise set up seven test sites in six different environment zones in California. Situated in areas ranging from far north to the extreme south, these sites experience climates ranging from mild to extreme. The labs will establish tests at these websites utilizing materials from all of the getting involved producers. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is likewise measuring energy savings and changes in indoor temperature and humidity at test homes equipped with cool roofings in its service area.


There are 2 good sources of details about cool-colored roofing materials. LBNL has actually established a Web-based database that describes 87 cool-colored pigments and their respective roof items. The United States federal government’s Energy Star program keeps a list of cool-roof materials and their producers, however it does not validate the precision of the info. The Energy Star score system and material screening is handled by the Cool Roofs Rating Council (CRRC). To get approved for the Energy Star Roof Products list, a steep-slope product must have a preliminary solar reflectance of greater than or equal to 25 percent and keep a reflectance of a minimum of 15 percent three years after installation.

Roof materials made with cool-colored pigments cost about the same or a little more than traditional items, depending upon the color. The greater cost, nevertheless, can be balanced out by energy savings.


Cool roofs cut cooling loads by approximately 20 percent through using reflective materials that restrict solar heat gain. A standard cool roofing system functions light-colored surface areas – tones that business facilities with flat or low-sloped roofing systems find acceptable. Nevertheless, house owners typically choose the aesthetics of darker colors for their steep-sloped roofing systems. Till recently, there were no cool roof products offered in darker, more attractive shades, but things are altering, and property owners now have more options when it concerns cool roof innovation.


Manufacturers have actually now developed dark-colored pigments for roofing materials that are more effective at showing sunshine. These pigments are now being used in finishes for metal roofings, in clay and concrete tiles, and in the multicolored granules which shingles are comprised. Cool-colored roofing items appear like their basic counterparts, but they show more sunshine, soak up less heat, and stay cooler. (See Figure 1.).

Cool-colored coatings for metal roofings are commercially readily available, and the very first cool-colored shingles developed for the property market have actually just recently been presented. In addition, cool coatings for retrofit tiles have actually been established by American Roof Tile Coatings that can be used to change older tile roofing systems that have lost their color. Property owners can likewise utilize these tiles if they just want to transform to a cool roofing system. More shingle and tile products are under development, and the future looks intense for cool roofing as more and more house owners are coming to understand the advantages of a more reflective roofing.


What’s Next.

Producers will continue to establish brand-new pigments for shingle granules and tile coatings. Scientists are likewise focusing on measuring the benefits of cool-colored roof materials. The capability to rate three-dimensional materials, such as Spanish tiles, has actually been an issue in the past, however that concern is being attended to by the CRRC with financing from PIER.