Benefits of Cool Roofing

Problems with the Typical Roof


It may surprise you to learn that 90% of the roofs in California reach summer peak temperatures of 150 to 190 degrees. These excessive temperatures contribute to many problems:

  • Wasteful cooling energy use for higher utility bills,

  • Higher peak electricity demand that raises utility costs and overtaxes the electrical grid,
  • Hot rooftop temperatures that reduces building indoor comfort,
  • Increased air pollution due to the intensification of the “heat island effect”,
  • Accelerated deterioration of roofing materials that increases the cost of roof maintenance and sends more roofing waste to landfills.

​What is Cool Roofing?


A cool roofing material is defined for the Cool Roof Retrofit Program as having:

  • Solar reflectivity, the percentage of the sun’s energy a material’s surface reflect, of at least 65% upon installation, (also called Aledo),
  • Emissivity, the percentage of heat a material can radiate or emit away from itself, of at least 80% upon installation.

The benefits of cool roofing are its ability to stay 50 to 60 degrees cooler in the summer sun (in the desert area these temperatures are increased substantially). 


Cool Roofing Solves Problems


Making a simple and cost effective switch to cool roofing materials brings many benefits for building owners, occupants and or community. Seven major benefits of cool roofing are:


1. Reduce the Heat Island Effect: Rooftops are easily recognized as the hottest areas on the thermal maps, with peak temperatures ranging from 150 to 190 degrees. Hot surfaces warm the air above them causing the infamous heat island, which crates a higher temperature than the surrounding countryside.


2. Reduces Cooling Energy Use: A cooler roof transfers less heat to a building below, so the building stays cooler, more comfortable and uses less energy for cooling.


3. Reduce Peak Electricity Demand: Another benefit of cool roofing is that the energy it saves comes just when it’s most needed – during times of peak summertime electrical demand. A projection of energy savings in 11 cities showed that widespread use of cool roofing can save more than 2200 gigawatts hours of electrical energy.


4. Improve Building Comfort: Besides saving energy use, buildings with cool roofs tend to be cooler and more comfortable inside. There are two California studies that illustrate potential comfort improvements plus the testimonials of many customers that have reported increased comfort after installing a cool roof system.


5. Reduce Air Pollution: The use of cool roofing both directly and indirectly reduces air pollution. Direct reduction in air pollution comes about because less cooling energy is used, so fewer power plant emissions are reproduced during energy generation. Indirect air pollution reductions can occur if cool roofing is used widely enough throughout an area to reduce the heat island effect, and thus reduce smog formation.


6. Reduce Building Maintenance Expenses: The most compelling reason to use cool roofing is that over the long term your maintenance costs go down significantly. Besides saving on roof maintenance, a cool roof can save money on cooling equipment expenses. If your building uses less cooling energy, your cooling equipment runs less and lasts longer, deferring any replacement costs. Plus, when replacement is required, there is a good chance the old equipment can be replaced with smaller equipment saving capital replacement dollars.  If a cool roof system is used, there may also be additional tax benefits. Roofing work is generally classified as a capital expense and must be depreciated over time. If you’re able to use a cool roof system, this can often be classified as a building maintenance expense and be deducted.


7. Reduce Roof Waste to Landfills: Cool roofing systems reduce the roofing waste substantially. There are an estimated 11 million tons of asphalt roofing waste going into US landfills every year, and over the last 40 years 7 to 10% of the land fill space used has been filled with roofing waste from both commercial and residential buildings.


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A Polyurethane Roof Looks Better On Your Bottom Line


Properly selected, a roofing system can offer years of protection. Improperly selected, it can bring years of headaches. In fact, while the roof represents 6% of the average building cost, it represents over 60% of construction litigation. Choosing a polyurethane foam roofing system eliminates the risk.

  • Highest Energy Efficiency
  • Virtually Leak Free
  • Easily Maintained
  • Usually No Tear-Off
  • Renewable

Easier To Install: Other roofing systems simply cannot offer the total value of a polyurethane roof. The combination of long life cycle, low maintenance, leak-free performance and energy efficiency makes this roofing system a much smarter choice economically.


Versatile: A polyurethane roof can be applied over practically any pervious roofing material without the need to tear off the old roof. This feature not only saves time and labor, but expensive disposal fees as well. Since it is self-flashing, it coats and seals all protrusions and corners without requiring special equipment or fasteners. In addition, because installation is faster and quieter, it is less disruptive to building occupants.


Minimal Maintenance: Maintenance and damage control are far simpler and less costly. There can be no lateral seepage of water through the system, so if there is a leak, it’s easy to find and easy to fix, requiring less labor and materials. In fact, a caulking gun is often all that is needed.


Your Polyurethane Roof Pays For Itself


The polyurethane roof system is the most energy efficient system available. Study after study has demonstrated the ability to recover the entire cost of the roof in a short period of time. Besides having the highest R-value of any available construction material, Polyurethane is seamless and does not allow for any joints or thermal shorts. Compare this to a typical roof with mechanically attached board insulation. Studies have shown that through the gaps and the metal fasteners, as much as 38% of the insulating value can be compromised.


Many companies like Ford Motor Company, General Electric and JC Penney have been using foam roofs for over 20 years. With roofs in the millions of square feet to maintain, they selected polyurethane foam. Some of the reasons include simple reliability, low maintenance and documented substantial energy savings.  In fact, the results of a study done at Texas A&M demonstrated the ability of the polyurethane foam roofing system to recover the total installation cost in an average of 4 ½ years, strictly through reduced energy consumption.