How can White Roofs Reduce Our City Energy Use?
More and more cities are passing ordinances and requiring “cool roofs” for building design. Requiring light colored or white roofing materials creates a surface which reflects the heat associated with sunlight.
When cities allow dark colored roofing materials, the sunlight beats down on the residential, municipal and commercial buildings and the dark material absorbs much of the heat that hits it. During the summer months, this absorption creates a rise in the building temperature and raises the electricity bill because of the increased use of air conditioners and fans. If 85% of air conditioned buildings in the U.S. had a cool roof, the energy savings would be $735 million per year!
Contra Costa County has mild winters and warmer summers. By changing to cool roofs, the energy costs in our county could be drastically reduced during those warm weather months.
- US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, encourages white roofs and describes the benefits (1 min 11 sec video clip)
- CBS and Bill Nye explain the science behind light reflecting surfaces (2 min video)
California, Florida and Georgia have taken the lead on Cool Roofs:
- Cool roof standards in CA.
- Demonstration of Cooling Savings of Light Colored Roof Surfacing in Florida Commercial Buildings: Retail Strip Mall.
- Demonstration of Cooling Savings of Light Colored Roof Surfacing in Florida Commercial Buildings: Our Savior’s School.
- The Georgia White Roofing Amendment requires the use of additional insulation for roofing systems that do not have reflectance and emittance of 75% or higher.
- Incentive Program for Green or Eco-Roofs:
- Cool Roofs Codes and Incentives from around the country. Programs are specific to cities, districts, departments and more.
Use the following resources to learn more:
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