Cool roofs — North American Roofing

Cool roofs - North American Roofing

Posted on July 09, 2013

You know the feeling of walking barefoot on a hot summers day. The dark asphalt street got unbearably hot while the light colored sidewalk offered welcome relief for your tender feet. The same effect holds true for roofs. Cool roofing reflects harsh sun rays so the roof’s surface (and interior space underneath it) doesnt get scorching hot. The technology offers real benefit for facilities in tropical and temperate regions.

Energy Savings from Cool Roofs

On a sunny afternoon, a traditional dark roof can reach 150°F or more, while a cool roof nearby might not even reach 100°F. When roof surface temperatures soar, air-conditioning costs follow, often making it cost-prohibitive to maintain desirable interior temperatures. Cool roof technology reduces HVAC operating costs as much as 15% or more, and can extend the life of the HVAC system.

Environmental Benefits of Cool Roofs

Cool roof benefits aren’t limited to reducing facility operating costs. With high reflectivity and emissivity, cool roofs improve air quality by reducing local outside air temperatures, which in turn decrease urban heat island effect and ease the risk of global warming.

The Solar Reflectance Index

The Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) is a scale for calculating a roof’s “coolness” factor. The SRI measures the roof’s ability to reflect sunrays and to emit thermal radiation. The better the roof resists heat from direct sunrays, the higher its SRI number will be. To meet the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, a low-slope facility roof should have a minimum SRI value of 78. Many cool roofs score an SRI index or 100 or higher.

Cool Roof Options

There’s more than one way to improve your roof’s SRI value and North American Roofing can help determine which type is right for your facility.

  • TPO. Single-ply thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing, manufactured from synthetic rubber, offers high solar reflectivity, making it a top choice for air-conditioned buildings and cold storage facilities. TPO qualifies for LEED credits and is suitable for new roof and re-roofing installations.
  • PVC. Single-ply thermoplastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is another worthwhile option for obtaining cool roof benefits. Like TPO, PVC roofing qualifies for LEED credits and offers long-term durability at a competitive cost. Single-ply PVC resists grease, oil and chemical damage and is suitable for many climate types. PVC is puncture-resistant, affordable and simple to maintain and repair.
  • Roof Coatings. Applying a cool roof coating that contains reflective pigments protects the roof from harsh UV damage at the same time it extends the roof’s useful life. Coatings can also increase the SRI factor of existing low-slope metal and EPDM roofs.

Is A Cool Roof Right for Your Facility?

While cool roofs are encouraged in some regions, and required in others, they’re not suitable for all climates. At North American Roofing, our highly trained specialists work closely with your local building authority to make sure your roof complies with all regulations. We use a lifecycle evaluation approach that factors in geographical weather demographics, upfront installation costs and ongoing roof expenses to determine your potential benefits and savings.

If you’ve been wondering about the paybacks of cool roof technology, there’s no better time than right now to find out.

Cool roofs - North American Roofing

Call North American Roofing today at 800-551-5602 for an individual evaluation of your building, and find out whether a cool roof is right for you.

What is LEED ?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a voluntary and internationally recognized green building program. The goal for participants is to achieve LEED certification, which is based on a point system. When you design your building in compliance with sustainable standards, or you undertake a major eco-conscious renovation, you earn points towards LEED accreditation.

Your building’s roof is just one place you can earn LEED points but when you’re trying to reach your environmental goals, it’s an important consideration. At North American Roofing, we offer a variety of eco-conscious roofing options that meet LEED standards.

The Heat Island Effect

Roofs and buildings, especially in urban areas, tend to magnify the intensity of the sun’s rays and increase the temperature of the immediate surroundings. This creates a detrimental microclimate for humans and wildlife in the vicinity.  The LEED system awards points for roofs that actively work to reduce or eliminate this heat island effect.

Cool Roofs

If you ran around barefoot as a kid, you know that stepping on an asphalt street on a hot sunny day could be a painful experience. The same thing holds true for roofs. Buildings with white or highly reflective roofs absorb less heat than dark roofs. For a low-slope roof to qualify for LEED credits it should have a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of at least 78. The higher the SRI number – the better. Another roofing industry term used to signify solar reflectivity is “albedo.” Typically, a high-albedo roof is one that meets or exceeds LEED standards.

The LEED council does not certify roofing systems or products, but the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), serves as an independent third-party group that determines the radiant properties of roofing surface materials. North American Roofing installs all major brands of roofing systems so we can work within your budget and design to help you reach your LEED goals.

Vegetative Roofs

Choosing a vegetative or garden roof for your building reduces the heat island effect and earns LEED credits. Typically, 25% to 50% of the roof surface should be vegetative in order to quality for credit. Many facility owners opt for a combination garden/cool roof. Vegetative roofs are not only environmentally sound – they’re attractive and appreciated by the community.

What Can You Do Now?

Existing buildings might not fully qualify for LEED certification, but don’t let that stop you from taking a close look at the roof. Over time, and in combination with a lack of maintenance and repairs, roofs simply wear out. The application of a new roof coating on a salvageable roof, or a completely new system on a roof that’s reached the end of its useful life, can greatly reduce energy consumption. We offer individual energy audit s that compare and analyze two or more different types of roof systems.

Whether you’re trying for LEED credits or you just want a more energy efficient roof, North American Roofing can help. Call us today at 888-517-3555 to find out how we can assist you in achieving your environmental goals for your building.


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