Installing a solar array on your roof isn’t the only way to reduce energy consumption and create a positive impact on the environment. Perhaps you don’t like the way solar panels look, or maybe you are not a good candidate for solar. Even so, you can still use your roof to your advantage! You’ve probably seen a stylish roof or two in your life (or one that sticks out like a sore thumb), but have you ever heard of a cool roof? This is not a new kind of roof, but rather an overlooked or unnoticed feature of a roof that’s been trending in residential and commercial buildings for decades. Cool roofs are a form of energy-saving technology worth adopting.
What’s a Cool Roof?
“A cool roof is one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Nearly any type of building can benefit from a cool roof, but consider the climate and other factors before deciding to install one.” – Energy.Gov
How and Why Do They Work?
Cool roofs benefit occupants, and the environment alike, in the following ways:
- Reduces the needs of air conditioning systems
- Significantly reduces electric bills
- Reduces roof temperature
- Improves the comfort of indoor spaces-especially areas that are not air-conditioned
- Potentially extends the life and service of a roof
- Reduces local air temperatures
- Lowers the electricity demand during peak usage times (this helps prevent power outages)
- Reduces emissions known to harm the environment
What Type of Cool Roof Is Right for You?
Choosing a cool roof that’s right for you comes down to the climate pattern in your area, the type of roof appropriate for the structure itself, and aesthetic appeal. Variety is plentiful, but here are some of the most popular versions of cool roofs:
- Cool Roof Coatings: Many roof types can benefit from cool roof coatings which are typically white, or another color that reflects sunlight. The coatings are similar to thick paints, which serve as UV protection and also prevent chemical damage. Some versions even offer water protection or restorative features. Talk about more bang for your buck!
- Shingle roofs: To make a shingle roof “cool”, purchase asphalt shingles specially coated with granules for optimal solar reflectance.
- Tile roofs: Tile roofs have been a popular choice for years. The types that are naturally heat reflective are clay, slate, or concrete tiles. However, there are surface treatments that can make them even cooler.
- Metal Roofs: Untreated metal roofs are already good solar reflectors but they are not always best at thermal emitting. They can be made cooler by applying a cool reflective coating or by covering them in paint.
So there you have it. There are many options out there as far as ways to use your home or business’s roof as a tool to achieve energy efficiency. Cool roofs can be applied to existing properties, but are also highly attractive to those who are in the building stage, as they can increase energy efficiency from the beginning. To learn more about other types of cool roofs, and how you can make your own roof cooler, visit http://energy.gov/energysaver/cool-roofs_.