What is a cool roof?

April 6, 2015

Cool roofs are a common sense way to keep California homes cool and comfortable. There are dozens of new products and home performance techniques for cooling your overheated California home. One of the most innovative new practices is installing a cool roof. A cool roof provides a reflective barrier, preventing the sun's heat from getting into your home or business. Similar to the cooling benefits of wearing light-colored clothing to help keep you cool on a sunny day, cool roofs use solar-reflective surfaces to maintain lower roof temperatures, and thus lower cooling bills for the entire structure. A cool roof is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. A feasible option for all roof types, cool roofs are often made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, highly reflective tiles, or shingles. Standard roofs (or "dark roofs") can reach temperatures of 150_лјF or more in the summer sun. A cool roof under the same conditions could stay over 50_лјF cooler. The effects of a cool roof have been recognized and embraced by the California Energy Commission as having a significant effect on homes and buildings. As of 2010 they are a requirement for new home constructions and roof repairs in California. Here are some of the benefits of installing a cool roof:

Improves Comfort

Staying cool in the hotter months of the year can be difficult. While air conditioning can alleviate some of the issues, it can be an expensive and problematic solution. Installing a cool roof is a preventative measure to keep your home's temperature down. Reducing the energy load on your cooling and air distribution systems gives your air conditioner more longevity. It also helps cool the parts of your home that don't have access to air conditioning.

Reduces Energy Usage

Installing a cool roof on your home could reduce your energy usage up to 15% on average for a single story home, saving significantly on your monthly air conditioning costs. Many homeowners see immediate reductions in their energy bills as they ease their dependence on high consuming cooling and HVAC equipment. The lighter impact on your systems will also result in lower maintenance and repair costs. It's possible that when it comes time to replace your air conditioner, you will be able to downsize to a smaller, less expensive model because your cool roof will have reduced your home's air-cooling needs. For homes currently in need of roof repair or replacement, there is remarkable potential for long-term cost savings. Installing a new cool roof qualifies for energy efficiency financing through CaliforniaFIRST PACE financing. PACE is an innovative financing mechanism that provides upfront financial support for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency improvements for your home or business _ and repayment is made through your property tax bill over the course of up to 25 years. Check out our side-by-side comparison of cool roofs and standard roofs.

Reduces the Heat Island Effect

Rising temperatures in our urban neighborhoods have been referred to as the Urban Heat Island Effect. Many cities regularly record temperatures higher than surrounding suburban and rural areas. The concentration of heat absorbing materials, such as dark roofs and asphalt, is at the center of this problem. Elevated temperatures can impact communities by increasing peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution levels, smog formation and heat-related illnesses. Cool roofs can help reduce the negative effects of heat islands by reflecting heat back to the atmosphere. If you're interested in learning more about financing a cool roof or other home or business energy or water upgrade project, call us at 844-589-7953 or visit californiafirst.org