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Cool Roofing


What is a "Cool Roof"?

"A cool roof reflects and emits the sun's heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building below. "Coolness" is measured by two properties, solar reflectance and thermal emittance.  Both properties are measured from 0 to 1 and the higher the value, the "cooler" the roof." (Cool Roof Rating Council - CRRC website)

 cool roofing

What are the Benefits of having a Cool Roof?  

  • Significantly reduces energy costs related to cooling a building
    • Energy represents 30% of the typical office building's costs and is a property's single largest operating expense. ( website) 
  • Lower ambient temperatures - helps reduce "Urban Heat Island Effect"
  • Lower internal building temperatures, resulting in improved occupant comfort
  • Comply with codes and green building programs

One-page handout by the Cool Roof Rating Council: Why Cool Roofs are Way Cool (click title to download)

What is the CRRC?
The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) is an independent, non-profit organization that maintains a third-party rating system for radiative properties of roof surfacing materials. The CRRC's Rated Products Directory is updated weekly and lists a product's Thermal Emissivity, Solar Reflectance, and SRI value.

Cool Roofs - Building Codes / Legislation
There are several places to find information on Cool Roof requirements in local building codes and legislation.

  • EPA's "Heat Island Effect" website - Urban Heat Island Community Actions Database
    Building Codes section - click here
  • CRRC's website - Codes and Standards section - click here

Cool Roofs - Rebate & Incentive Programs
Your local utility company may offer a rebate for Cool Roofing.

  • EPA's "Heat Island Effect" website - Urban Heat Island Community Actions Database
    Incentive section - click here
  • CRRC's website - Rebate Programs section - click here


Myth vs. Fact - Cool Roofing 101

Myth: Cool Roofs are only beneficial to buildings in warm, southern climates.
Fact:  Although the cities of Philadelphia and Chicago are not located in "southern climates", both cities have adopted Cool Roof legislation to reap the benefits that Cool Roofing can offer both building owners and occupants.

Myth: A "Cool Roof" is great during the summer, but will increase my heating bill in the winter.
Fact: The roof is an insignificant source for heat gain in winter.  While Cool Roof owners may pay slightly more to heat their homes, this amount is usually insignificant compared to the cooling energy savings during the summer. 
Why?usa map

  • In the wintertime, the sun is much lower in the sky and less intense.  (Passive solar heating usually occurs from sunshine streaming through windows this time of year).
  • There is a higher incidence of cloudy days, and in some regions the roof is covered in snow for long periods.
  • Winter days are shorter (fewer hours of sunshine).
  • A cool roof will not shed more heat proportionate to other types of roofing materials at night or on cloudy days.  It will simply limit the amount of heat entering the building on hot summer days.  (source: CRRC website FAQs)

For more information, see the "Benefits of Cool Roofs" article from RCI Interface magazine in our Resources section by clicking here.