Urbanites in places where the summer season has started or at its peak suffer from the oppressive heat. Adding to their sweaty woes are mounting energy bills from round-the-clock air conditioner use, more so for commercial property owners.
The reason for this is roofing absorbs excess heat from the sun, turning buildings into miniature “heat islands.” Since roofs are the primary defense against scorching daytime heat (and pretty much any inclement weather condition), it makes sense to reinforce them with ‘cool roofs.’
Cool roofs, apart from what the visually stimulating term suggests, are roofing systems lined with reflective surfaces that dispel heat from buildings. In a study conducted by researchers from Concordia University in Montreal, cool roofs proved effective in limiting solar heat gain and providing energy cost savings.
The research indicated that cool roofs installed on retail buildings cut down power consumption by up to five watts per square meter. Therefore, for commercial buildings that use air conditioners excessively, utilizing a cool roof can save a considerable amount of energy, regardless of climate.
Locations with colder climates may even opt out of installing A/C altogether by using cool roofs instead. In severe instances, these roofs can prevent cases of heat stroke during peak summer days. Cool roofs can even control a building’s surrounding air temperature, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and impeding heat island effects in the process – further underscoring its environmental benefits.
Many cities acknowledge the advantages of cool roofs, with flat roofing companies in Houston already installing them on new buildings as well as replacing roofing for existing ones. The study’s researchers hope that other cities worldwide adopt cool roofs as a construction standard.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the study is how it proved the efficiency of cool roofs in much colder locations like Anchorage and Milwaukee. The researchers sought to determine whether it was worth using cool roofs for energy expenditure savings in colder climates, which the study confirmed.