Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cool Roofs are Good for the Environment

Energy savings are not the only reason to opt for a cool roof like those offered by Conklin. Researchers who pioneered the technology in the 1970's were motivated primarily not by the cost savings that cool roofs bring for building owners, but by the significant environmental benefits they offer for cities that widely use them.

Art Rosenfeld (Commissioner of the California Energy Commission) pioneered the study of urban heat islands — a phenomenon in which the air temperature in and around urban areas is raised by 6 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit primarily as a result of the prevalence of heat-retaining surfaces like dark roofs and asphalt streets. Because of their high emissivity and their ability to maintain low surface temperature, cool roofs have a well-documented ability to combat the urban heat island effect.

Urban heat islands are associated with increased pollution and cooling costs, negative health effects, and even decreased workplace productivity because of the impact of poor air quality. “Ozone — call it smog — is extremely temperature dependent,” says Rosenfeld. “In Los Angeles, when the average daily temperature is 72 or below, there is ozone in the air but there are no smog episodes. When it goes up to 92 degrees, you have 100 percent likelihood of smog episodes. When you have an urban heat island, you are artificially increasing that temperature through manmade means, and the negative results for the environment and for public health are significant.”

While the urban heat island effect is most severe in warm climates, it is not just building owners in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Houston, and Dallas who should be concerned about it.

“Cities in the north as well as in the south of the country are affected by this phenomenon,” says Rosenfeld. “Believe it or not, the city of Toronto is an urban heat island.”

The environmental benefits of cool roofs are prompting municipal and state agencies across the nation to consider mandating their use as a matter of policy. California blazed the trail of incorporating cool roofs into building code. Following a 1999 analysis that revealed the potential energy savings afforded by cool roofs, Title 24 introduced credits for facilities that opted for cool roofs. Starting in October 2005, California began requiring the use of cool roofs in certain applications. Cities as far north as Chicago have since followed suit.

To learn more about the environmental and other benefits of cool roofing, ask a professional roofing contractor in your area who is an expert in cool roofing.

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Patton Services | (309) 303-3128 | rpatton55@comcast.net | http://www.whiteroofingsystems.com


  1. If you live in a tropical climate, like me, you obviously realize how important it is to rely on energy to save you from the all-pervasive heat. Then again, you must also be familiar with the large figures on the energy bills that make your heart miss a beat, and frantic calculations are done on paper, in the head, or if you are like me - on your iPad, trying to manage your fiscal deficit. If we perchance have darker colored roofs - like 90% of the United States, then the peak heat of the sun has been contributing...
    roofer Aledo TX

  2. I agree, roofing Aledo TX. The energy cost should highly be considered. And since a roof is made for the purpose of giving us shelter, it should be efficient enough to shield us from both rain and heat. Also, if I might add, cool roof can help you save on electricity by providing insulation to your home.

    Alejamuel Sultz