A cool roof is a roof specially designed to absorb fewer amounts of heat and reflect sunlight better, as compared to a standard roof. Such cool roofs are generally made from a sheet covering, special reflective paint, or reflective shingles or tiles. A cool roof can be beneficial for almost any sort of building, but it is important to take the climate and additional factors into consideration prior to installing one.
Just like light-colored clothing can help to keep you cool during hot weather, so can the special reflective cool roof material. Dark or standard roofs can reach up to 65°C in the summer sun. In the same environment, the temperature of a cool roof could be over 10°C less and save you money and energy associated with excessive air conditioning use.
Benefits of Cool Roofs
A cool roof can provide important benefits to a building and its occupants by:
- Improving indoor comfort for non-air-conditioned spaces like garages or covered patios
- Reducing energy bills by reducing air conditioning use
- Decreasing roof temperature, which can help to prolong the roof life
In addition to the building itself, cool roofs can also provide benefits for the environment, especially when numerous buildings within a community have them. As such, cool roofs can:
- Lower peak electricity demand, which can help to avoid power outages
- Reduce local air temperatures associated with the urban heat island effect
- Decrease power plant emissions, including sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, mercury, and nitrous oxides, by reducing cooling energy use in buildings
Types of Roofs and How They Can Be Made Cool
There are several types of roofs available. However, when it comes to cool roofs, it is the surface exposed to the sun that determines whether the roof is, indeed, considered “cool.” Most of the time, you can turn a new or existing roof cool by choosing the proper type of surface material.
Cool roof coatings are white in colour or contain specially-designed reflective pigments intended to reflect sunlight. These coatings look like very thick paints that work to protect the roof from UV light and chemical damages, with some of them even offering water protection and restorative features. Cool roof coatings are available for most roof types.
Deciding Whether to Install a Cool Roof
When determining whether it is worth installing a cool roof, you will need to consider whether the associated cost will justify the energy savings. The amount of energy saved will depend on numerous factors, such as your home’s environment and climate, the insulation of your current roof, the type of your current roof, and the efficiency of your cooling and heating system.
If you are building a new home, you should decide on what type of roof to install and whether to make it a cool roof during the planning process.
If you decide to convert your existing roof into a cool one, you have three standard options:
- Re-cover the roof with a new surface like tile coating
- Retrofit the roof with a special heat-reflective material
- Replace the roof completely with a cool one
If your roof is nearing the end of its life or is in a poor condition, it is usually recommended to recover, retrofit, or replace it.
Cost and Energy Savings
A cool roof does not always cost more than its non-cool counterparts, especially if you are replacing an existing roof or installing a new one. However, converting a standard roof into a cool one can be expensive. The biggest roof costs include upfront installation, such as labor and materials, as well as ongoing maintenance, which includes cleaning, repair, and recoating. Additional cool roof costs include specialized labor and materials.
While cool roofs can get pricey, they can save you money in a number of ways, including energy savings, incentives and rebates, extended roof lifetime, and HVAC equipment downsizing.
Climate and Environment
The climate in the area you live in is an important aspect to think about when deciding whether to install a cool roof. Naturally, cool roofs can achieve maximum energy savings in warmer climates. However, they can increase the energy spend in colder climates, as they might reduce the beneficial heat gains during the wintertime.
Royal Roofing Inc. offers a wide range of roof sealants for any type of roofing system and our trained technicians possess the skills, tools, and experience necessary to apply each of these products perfectly.