COOL ROOFING SYSTEMS -
GREEN ROOFS ARE
commercial roofers can provide and
install today's leading commercial cool
roofing systems. Cool roofing systems
are the key to a low cost maintenance
friendly commercial roofing system.
Whats "Not-Hot" in
the commercial roofing market today?
Elastomeric Roof Coatings:
Elastomeric coatings have
elastic properties, and can stretch in the
summertime heat and then return to their original
shape without damage. Elastomeric coatings include
acrylic, silicone and urethane materials.
Elastomeric Roof Coatings
Cool roofs use an
energy saving surfacing material which reflects the
sun’s heat away rather than transferring the heat to
the building below. This will help reduce the
cooling costs for building that use air conditioning
and for non-a/c buildings it helps to keep the
interior cooler and more energy efficient
Many systems are also
eligible for the Texas Energy Rebate which can help
to defray the cost of the roofing system
installation making it a very economical roofing
are liquid applied, fully adhered, "rubber-like"
protective membranes. They can be applied as part of
a roof or wall system during the construction stage,
in retrofit or as a maintenance application. Both
primer and finish coats can be spray applied to
ensure quick application, consistent appearance and
a durable finish.
There are a great many
additional benefits to having a Cool Roof installed:
are TAX deductible. Cover the entire roof as
maintenance because thats what a Cool Roof is!
It has low
installation costs. There are no dump fees and
compared to other types of roofing there is less
labor involved so most of the cost is for the
roof membrane material itself.
traditional “hot mop” roofing, with Cool Roofs
there is no hot asphalt or fumes involved.
Cool Roofing can
be installed without tearing off your old roof,
which can expose the inside of your building to
Applying a Cool
Roof is quieter for the building occupants since
there is no heavy tar equipment being used.
Traditional roofs are covered with gravel or
some other type of granules to protect the
surface of the roof. With a Cool Roof system the
covering used is smooth and seamless and does
not require any kind of gravel cover.
Lasts longer and
the roofing system can be upgraded.
Cool Roofs can be
applied over BUR, Single Ply, Modified Bitumen,
gravel and metal roofing.
costs with no dump fees
No hot asphalt or
Prolongs the life
of the roofing system
installations have a 25+ year track record along
with UL ratings and a generous 10 year
What is a Cool Roof?
A cool roof is one
that reflects the sun’s heat and emits absorbed
radiation back into the atmosphere. The roof
literally stays cooler and reduces the amount of
heat transferred to the building below, keeping the
building a cooler and more constant temperature.
Imagine wearing a white or a black T-shirt on a hot
day. By wearing the white T-shirt you will remain
cooler than if you wore a black T-shirt because it
reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat. Cool
roofs like a white T-shirt, keep the internal
temperature of the building cooler.
However, a cool roof
need not be white. There are many “cool color”
products which use darker-colored pigments that are
highly reflective in the near infrared (non-visible)
portion of the solar spectrum. With “cool color”
technologies there are roofs that come in a wide
variety of colors and still maintain a high solar
The two basic
characteristics that determine the ‘coolness’ of a
roof are solar reflectance (SR) and thermal
emittance (TE). Both properties are rated on a scale
from 0 to 1, where 1 is the most reflective or
The CRRC measures
these two properties for roofing products, both for
the product’s initial values and after three years
of weather exposure. The CRRC publishes the results
on the online Rated Products Directory. The online
Directory is available to the general public at no
charge, and it allows you to compare the rated
values of various product types and brands.
are the Benefits of a Cool Roof?
There are numerous
benefits in having a cool roof:
Increase ecological sustainability factor, or
make your house “greener” by:
utility bills associated with air
occupant comfort and avoid installing an air
conditioner where there isn’t already one
size and prolong the life of your air
maintenance costs and extend roof life,
avoiding re-roofing costs and reducing solid
Assist your home in meeting building codes
Mitigate your community's Urban Heat Island
Maintain aesthetics with a roof that performs
and looks good
Receive utility rebates (in some locations)
In a nut shell, a cool
roof can significantly reduce your cooling energy
costs and increase your comfort level by reducing
temperature fluctuations inside your home. Average
energy savings range from 7%-15% of total cooling
When people think
about making their home more “green” or ecologically
sustainable, cool roofing isn’t always the first
thing to come to mind. However, certain green
building programs, such as the U.S. Green Building
Council’s LEED, give credit for installing a cool
roof. So if you are trying to save energy or make
your home more environmentally-friendly, a cool roof
is one way to achieve that goal.
What is the right
roofing material for your home or building?
Although the CRRC
cannot recommend specific roofing products, below is
a description of some things to consider in
selecting a roofing product for your building,
including a description of the types of roofing
materials currently rated in our program.
All roofs essentially
fall into one of two general categories: low-slope
(less than 2 inches of rise over 12 inches of run)
and steep-slope (2:12 or greater). Our directory
indicates which slope(s) a product is intended for.
In addition, we recommend that you check with a
local roofing contractor, roof consultant or
architect to determine the most appropriate roofing
product type for your home.
In most climate zones
worldwide, cool roofs can significantly reduce a
building’s cooling load. However, cool roofs can
also increase heating costs in winter months. This
increase is usually greatly outweighed by the
cooling energy savings achieved during summer months
because the sun is low in the sky during winter
months, the weather tends to be overcast, and snow
often covers the roof, usually making the heat gain
through the roof negligible in all but the most
northern climate zones in the US.
In selecting your
roof, it is important to understand your climate
zone and the actual energy your home or building
will save. There are two cool roof calculators
available online that can give good estimates of how
much energy you will save. You can find them at:
DOE Cool Roof
Below is a list of
definitions of roof product types.
Foam Roof Systems:
Foam systems can also be divided into the
field-applied and factory-applied categories.
Field-applied foam systems are similar to
field-applied coatings, as they are sprayed on
in liquid form and harden as they set on top of
the roof. Factory-applied foam systems are
formed into rigid panels and coated with a
reflective coating. The foam usually give the
roof system additional insulation properties.
Metal roofing products can be shaped to look
like shingles, or shakes, or to fit unique
curvatures, in addition to a typical “standing
seam” configuration. They come in a variety of
textures and colors, including some darker
“cool” colors with special additives that allow
these dark colors to achieve significantly
greater reflectance than previous versions of
the same product.
Roof coatings can be divided into two
categories: field-applied and factory-applied.
Field-applied coatings are applied directly onto
the roof surface, either on a new roof assembly
or over an existing roof surface (and can be
applied over top of just about anything, so long
as the right coating is selected).
Factory-applied coatings are applied at the
factory prior to distribution. Examples of
factory-applied coatings include coatings
applied to metal and glazes that are applied to
Shingles, Slate, or
All of these products types use the same
concept, where pieces fit together to form a
roof. Asphalt shingles are fairly common for
residential roofing applications, probably
because they are relatively inexpensive and
simple to install. Slate and tile products also
come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and
textures, and, because of their heavy mass, they
have thermal properties that may yield
additional energy savings beyond their
reflectance and emittance properties.
(includes EPDM, Hypalon):
materials that can not be hot-air welded because
it changes their physical characteristics.
Instead, tape or a contact cement to seal the
Single-Ply–Thermoplastic (includes TPO, PVC,
Single-Ply-Thermoplastic is a flexible sheet
membrane which consists of compounded plastic
polymers. When heat is applied onto the
surface, the single ply-thermoplastic seams are
melded together making the material seamless and
effective. Most thermoplastics are manufactured
to include a reinforcement layer (usually
polyester or fiberglass) for extra durability
and strength. There are various types of
single-ply-thermoplastic such as PVC & TPO.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic
polymer prepared from vinyl chloride. It tends
to be more expensive than TPO, but is well known
for long-term performance and is naturally
fire-retardant. TPO (thermoplastic
polyolefin) is a blend of polymers that can
contain flame-retardants or UV absorbers.
Currently not included in the CRRC Rating Program:
Green roofs (also known as garden roofs or
vegetated roofs) use plants as roof covering.
Though technically not highly reflective, green
roofs do provide similar energy savings and
urban heat island mitigation benefits as cool
roofs. They also absorb water, reducing storm
water runoff. Green roofs are distinct from cool
roofs and are not rated by the CRRC.
Kinds of Cool Roof Products Are on the Market?
roofing market provides products for two distinct
segments: low-sloped roofs and steep-sloped roofs.
Low-sloped roofs are found on most commercial and
industrial buildings, as well as warehouses and
residences. Steep-sloped roofs are found on most
single-family homes. Cool roof options for
low-sloped roofs include cool roof coatings and
membranes. Cool roof options for steep-sloped
applications include reflective tiles and metal
roof coatings are white liquids – the consistency of
thick paint – applied over an existing roof
structure. Coatings are designed only for use on
low-sloped roofs. They can be applied over a
traditional roof to achieve energy savings, an
extended life span, and protection from weathering
and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The new surface can
last 10 to 20 years, depending on coating quality
and the thickness at which it is applied.
roof coatings go on with a power sprayer or roller.
Home and building owners should ensure that the
underlying roof substrate is sound before a coating
is applied, as these products are not intended to
plug leaks or otherwise improve the structure of a
cool roof coatings can be described as one of the
has been found to retain solar reflectance over
roof coatings costs: between $0.75 and $1.50 per
square foot for materials and labor. Installation
cost varies, however, depending on the condition of
the roof, size of the job, number of roof
penetrations or obstacles, and the ease of access to
the roof. For accurate cost information on a
particular project, a professional roofing
contractor should be contacted.
Single-ply roofing is the catchall name for roofing
materials that come in pre-fabricated sheets and are
applied in a single layer to a low-sloped roof.
Single-ply roofs are a flexible or semi-flexible
roof membrane typically constructed of rubber or
plastic materials. Single-ply roofs can be
manufactured in a bright-white color for high solar
reflectance– or albedo – and increased energy
Single-ply roofs are durable and can cover a number
of roof structures. They are typically delivered in
rolls, and applied by heat sealing the seams, or
with caulk. Some of the newest single-ply roof
products are made with self-cleaning and
mold-resistant polymers to maintain solar
the "single-ply" classification includes both light-
and dark-colored materials, products that are highly
reflective should be selected for heat island
reduction and energy savings purposes. Examples of
single-ply products include:
membrane): a flexible elastomeric single-ply
PVC (polyvinyl chloride): a synthetic
thermoplastic polymer prepared from vinyl
chloride. It is the most expensive of the three,
but is well known for long-term performance.
TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin): a blend of
polymers that may or may not contain desirable
additives such as flame-retardants or UV
absorbers. It can last 30 years and is largely
Single-ply roofing costs vary considerably from
$1.50 to $3.00 per square foot, including materials,
installation, and reasonable preparation work.
usually are made of clay or concrete, and the solar
reflectance of traditional tiles ranges from 10-30%.
Manufacturers have begun to develop cool tiles that
contain pigments that reflect in the infrared.
Special pigments allow roofing materials to keep
their traditional colors, such as brown, green, and
terra cotta, while reflecting away up to 70% of the
sun's energy. These products enable buyers to forego
the perceived tradeoff between energy efficiency and
the aesthetic concerns that may arise with a
cost of reflective tiles is around $3.00 per square
foot. They are well-known for durability and long
life, and are most often used on new homes or on
higher end reroofing projects.
Several EPA ENERGY STAR ® labeled metal roof
products are available for residential use. These
materials have a high albedo to reflect the sun's
radiation. Unless treated metal has a low thermal
emittance and retains the heat that it does
absorb. Manufacturers have recently developed cool
metal roofing products that use pigments that
reflect infrared radiation, further increasing the
solar reflectance of metal roofing, keeping it
Dark-colored metal roof applications are also
available. These options reflect solar radiation and
save energy while meeting consumers' aesthetic
roofs generally start at $2.00 per square foot, and
are known to be durable and long lived.
Is the Size of the Cool Roof Market?
are few reliable data segmenting the roofing market
into highly reflective and traditional roof
applications. What is known about the size of the
cool roof market comes from roof marketing surveys
and opinions that characterize the demand for
Industry sources suggest, for instance, that 10% (by
dollar value) of the commercial roof market is
represented by highly reflective products.
Regardless of whether this figure is precise, the
existence of large-scale incentive programs for
purchasing cool roof products – in combination with
data from roof manufacturers and contractors –
indicates that market share for commercial
applications is growing.
Does the Cost of Cool Roofs Compare with Traditional
unit-area basis, reflective roofs are usually
cost-competitive with and sometimes less expensive
than traditional roofs at the time of purchase. Of
course, this depends on the specific types of roofs
under consideration, their quality, local
availability, and other factors.
the life-cycle costs of cool and traditional roofs
are compared, however, cool roofs are often less
expensive. This is because, once installed,
electricity demand is reduced and summertime savings
on energy bills begin to add up. In fact, experience
has shown that, over time, most reflective roofs pay
roofs can be installed on both new buildings and
older structures due for re-roofing. Because most
roofs require regular maintenance, as well as
periodic re-roofing or recoating, opportunities to
switch to cool materials and improve roof
reflectance are regularly presented.
more information on cool roofs and the cool roof
market, visit EPA's
ENERGY STAR ® Roof Products
are two things that keep a roof cool.
roof coatings reflect 70% to 90% of the sun's energy
when newly installed. Most of the energy is radiated
away. Conventional roofing materials have
reflectivity of 5% to 25%, meaning they absorb 75%
to 95% of the sun's energy. A typical “white”
capsheet roof only reflects 25% of the sun's energy.
The absorbed energy is transferred to the building.
Emissivity is the ability to radiate away absorbed
heat. Most cool roof coatings emit 90% or more. Even
though aluminum coated roofs are highly reflective
they are not considered a cool roof because they
only emit 50% to 60% of the absorbed energy.
conventional roof can get up to 180º on hot sunny
summer days. A cool roof coating keeps the roof at
just 10º-15º above the air temperature. This means a
cool roof can be 80º to 90º cooler than a
at relatively cool temperatures there is a big
difference in how much heat is absorbed. The chart
shown below, done by Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory, demonstrates how different roofing
materials are affected on a sunny day when the air
temperature was only 55º.
Temperature 55° F
fiberglass cap sheet
roof surfaces means less heat is transferred into
the building. If you air condition a building one
will save money on cooling energy. How much savings
will depend on many factors including roof
insulation, cooling system equipment and other
variables. In the right situation, a reflective roof
can bring cooling savings of up to 50%, with a
reduction in peak cooling demand of 10% to 15%.
US for your free cool
roof roofing estimates
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