Does Cool Roofing Actually Work?

white roof installation

What is cool roofing and why is cool roofing a good option? 

How was 2020 for you and your company? Whether you were the owner of a business or manage the building that houses a business, this year has been a doozy. As the owner or manager of a business structure, every year could be a doozy when it comes to maintenance and utilities, which brings us to the topic of cool roofing

Cool roofing is a roofing system that has a high solar reflectance of the sun’s UV rays and wavelengths and reduces heat transfer into the building. It has a higher thermal emittance that allows it to radiate absorb, non-reflected solar energy better than a standard designed roofing. 

There are multiple benefits to having a cool roof installed on your commercial structure: 

  • Reduced energy bills because air conditioning needs are reduced
  • Improved indoor comfort even in non-air conditioned areas
  • Cool roofing and repairs go hand-in-hand because of decreased roof temperature
  • Decreased roof temperature expands lifespan of roof

Not only will your building and your budget benefit from cool roofing, but the environment will benefit from cool roofing too in the following ways: 

  • Urban heat island temps are reduced
  • Peak power demands are reduced, minimizing power outages
  • Power plant emissions are reduced, including carbon dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide

What is the coolest roofing material? And Which type of roofing is best?

We bring these two questions together because the answer will encompass both. Commercial structures are generally large buildings that requires a large roof, they are often flat or have a slight slope. With that in mind, roofing material choices are different than those of a residential property, yet there is still a wide range of materials to choose from.  

Which roofing material is going to be the coolest and which is the best is all dependent where the building is located. For instance, in Texas where summers are blazing hot and the temperatures overall are higher year round, you’ll need a different type of roofing material that will be cool.  In Ohio however, temperatures are milder in the summer, but the winters can torture commercial roofing. Between the two different regions, cool roofing is more of an interest in Texas than Ohio, but Ohio can benefit from cool roofing during their summers too. 

 New products have been introduced in the commercial  roofing sector in recent years. They are better at providing a high temperature and weather  resistance, with the temperature resistance being a plus for the environment as well as the structure itself.  We offer the following review of some different commercial roofing materials: 

Single Ply: This category of commercial roofing systems include EPDM, PVC, and TPO, all flexible materials.  These are the most preferred materials because they are crack resistant, peel resistant, and most of all weather resistant. Each of these offer these offer cool roofing benefits and are installed in a single layer, and each have benefits as described here: 

  • EPDM Roofing: EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer and is a tough chemical compound that is also elastic-like and has a strong resistance to constant UV rays beating on it daily. EPDM rubber roof coating is a popular material because of the low install cost and resilient strength. Recommended for and found on low-slope commercial buildings around the world.
  • PVC Roofing:  There are two layers to PVC roofing material that is reinforced with a layer of scrim in between. The UV resistance is possible by additives in the top ply and the bottom ply is contains plasticizers that make it flexible. This typically commercial roofing material is easy to install because of its flexibility. It is a durable, fire-resistant material that has a long lifespan and is a weldable material that makes it a watertight material – a big plus for a largely commercial structure. 
  • TPO: Common in North America, this material is found on low slope roofs and includes reinforced sheets that are heat-welded at the seams. A highly reflective roofing material, this single-ply membrane is made of ethylene-propylene rubber and polypropylene that are polymerized together. 

If you want truly cool roofing, Green Roofing is where it is at. While a green roof isn’t suitable for every building, it is one of the best options in cool roofing. The natural insulation they provide reduces energy costs while creating an enjoyable space for occupants of the building and nature. They absorb stormwater which eases the strain on the drainage system, they improve the air quality, and they do their part to minimize the urban heat island issue. 

white  roof on commercial building

What color roof is the coolest and What color reflects the most heat?

It is common knowledge that dark colors absorb heat, which stands to say that light colors are cooler.  The solar reflectance of a light-colored roof can lower the need for air conditioning by twenty percent. Again, we’ll compare Ohio to Texas and their unique climates. Ohio has summer weather, but not for as long as Texas and not has hot. Therefore, they would benefit from a light color roof, but not as much as a commercial structure in Texas would. 

With all we’ve discussed here, are you still asking Is a cool roof worth it? Our answer is yes, or ask any roofing consultant or contractor, they will tell you yes, cool roofing is worth the slight increase for installing. You’ll see a ROI during the summer months when the utility bills are lower, but the building is comfortable. You’ll notice the effect when you step outside your building too because the immediate air around will be cooler. 

Not sure how to get cool roofing? Call several roofing contractors in your area that specialize in commercial roofing. Inquire what they offer in cool roofing and then get quotes. Compare at least three different quotes with the materials used, the install time, warranty, etc. Call (740) 505-1467 today for cool roofing in Cincinnati, OH.