Do Cool Roofs work?

flat white roof

What is a cool roof system?

“Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.”, a popular line in a famous oldie but goodie, the title song by Roger and Hammerstein for the musical  “Oklahoma!” Along with that wind that comes sweeping across the state, usually before, during, and after the rain, rooftops take a beating. Not just residential structures but commercial and industrial structures too. Then the hot sun bakes it all in, which is why more and more people are looking into a cool roof system installation. 

In 1998 the CRRC (Cool Roofing Rating Council), was established with the goal to create methods to evaluate and label roofing products solar reflectance and thermal emittance. The method is now accepted in LEED application and recognized as Cool Roof Systems. 

A cool roof system generates a higher level of solar reflectance and thermal emittance than other roofing products. This means a cool roof reflects the infrared and UV rays of the sun, reducing the overall amount of heat that is transferred to the interior of a structure. 

The thermal emittance is the ability of a cool roof to emit the absorbed and non-reflected solar energy. While the standard roofing materials and dark colored roofing reach a temperature of 150°F or higher during the summer, a cool roof will stay 50°F and more cooler. 

This temperature drop will reduce the energy costs for the structure, maintain the roof’s durability, and reduce the structure’s contribution to the urban heat island effect, just a part of a cool roof benefits. 

What are the benefits of a cool roof in addition to those three things?

  • Indoor conditions have improved comfort, including non-air conditioned areas like garages, patios, etc. 
  • Helps the climate change by conserving electricity with less air conditioning use, directly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, and lowering power plants CO2 emissions, mercury, nitrous oxides, and sulfur dioxide. 
  • Earn an ENERGY STAR label which can bring tax benefits locally and federally.
  • Lowers roof maintenance needs, a saving on labor and materials. 

What color roof is most energy efficient?

Whether you’re concerned about energy efficiency for a commercial, industrial, or residential  property, the maintenance and upkeep can be costly. With monthly mortgage or rental payments, insurance, in addition to the maintenance and repairs, there are the utility bills too. It is a never-ending and sometimes staggering reality. Thankfully, there are ways to help save some money, like a cool roof. 

A roof is what protects your business, home, employees and customer, or family, and the contents. The structure is an investment, and with a cool roof for hot climate, you can save even more on those energy bills, which includes choosing a color that will work with the cool roof system. 

A cool roof itself will do a lot to help with the energy efficiency of your business or home, but you can help it do better by choosing a lighter color here in the Oklahoma and immediate areas. There isn’t any specific color that will do a better job over the others, just lighter in general should be the goal. White is always the most reflective, but you can go with a light beige, light blue, light green, or light grey and get added reflectiveness to help your cool roof system. 

Does a white roof save energy?

Absolutely, to get even more cool roof energy savings, a white roof can reduce the energy usage by up to 20 percent. Even in Oklahoma’s hot, humid, powerful sunny weather.  When you go outside on a hot August day in Oklahoma wearing black, you can feel the sun being absorbed into your clothing.  Go outside on the same kind of August day wearing white, and while you may feel the sun, it isn’t absorbing into your clothing.  The same holds true for a cool roof. 

An additional way to help with the energy efficiency of your business or home is adequate and proper insulation and ventilation. The insulation will minimize even more of the heat entering your structure.  Proper ventilation will make sure the hot air is leaving the attic area and under the cool roof system, and not building up moisture. 

metal roofing

How much is a cool roof?

For a residential structure, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), a cool roof installation can be as little as .75 cents up to $3.00 per square foot. For a typical 1,500 square foot home, the total can be $1,600 and up to $6,500.

To install a cool roof on a commercial structure, there are some circumstances that can factor  .75 cents up to $1.50 per square foot. To install a cool roof membrane, the cost can start at $1.50 per square foot and go up to $3.00 or more per square foot. 

There are several different roofing materials and types that can make a commercial or residential structure more energy efficient. A cool roof system is just one, and another that has gained more attention is a green roof. What is the difference between a cool roof or green roof?

A cool roof is made of materials that reflect the UV rays from the sun, typically in a light color of coating, paint, shingles, or tiles. They are good for a traditional slope residential roof or a low-slow commercial structure roof. It is estimated they reduce the temperature by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or more while reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. 

A green roof provides a structure an additional layer of insulation, ideal for structures with colder seasons. A green roof captures storm water runoff, whereas a cool roof does not. However, depending on the level of green roof you choose, it will take constant maintenance and upkeep with feeding, watering, weeding, and harvesting. Call (405) 470-9115 today for your cool roofing in Yukon and Oklahoma City, OK.