With spring around the corner, businesses are starting to worry about the soaring costs involved with keeping their commercial buildings cool. As air conditioning prices continue to increase, coupled with the wider awareness of the negative impact on the environment; an increasing number of eco-aware companies are investing in cool roof solutions.
Cool roofs, which are increasingly popular in the US, are being used to help fight the Urban Heat Island Effect – the creation of higher ambient temperatures in urban areas which is caused by the increasing number of buildings in a limited space. This Urban Heat Island Effect can also be affected by the large amount of dark pavement and roofing as well as the lack of vegetation in urban areas.
Though installing cool roofs can be costly for the building owner, they do have benefits – mainly the significant energy savings associated with their installation. In the US, companies adopting cool roof systems are also benefiting from federal and state tax exemptions, meaning that though there is an outlay, they can recoup the expenditure through annual savings.
What are Cool Roofs?
Cool roofs are the leading green roofing option to assist in keeping cooling costs down. They use special materials that reflect the sun’s radiant heat away from the roof and back into the sky. By preventing the sun from radiating down into the building, cool roofs reduce the core temperature of the building’s roof.
What are the benefits of a cool roof?
- Increase ecological sustainability – making the property ‘greener’
- Reduction in utility bills associated with air conditioning – average energy savings range from 7-15% of cooling costs
- Increasing comfort of occupants and prevent the need to install costly air conditioning systems
- Prolong the life expectancy of a building’s air conditioning system
- Reduction in roof maintenance costs
Things to consider:
Roofs often fall into two categories: a low-slope (less than 2 inches of rise over 12 inches of run) and a steep-slope (2:12 or greater). Different cool roof systems are available depending on the roof slope, speak to a roofing specialist to determine which systems are appropriate for your building.
While cool roofs can significantly reduce energy costs in the summer, they can be known to increase heating costs during the winter. Any increase is generally outweighed by the energy savings achieved during the summer, but it is an important consideration.