Cooling your Commercial Roof to save energy!
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the surface of a typical black roof can get up to 50ºF (10ºC) warmer than its surrounding air temperature on a hot summer day. That is a fact that poses a heat problem in the suburban and rural neighborhoods (where the space between residences is usually more than ample) – let alone a big city with block after block of black roofs.
The heat absorption property that is characteristic of the black roof leads to a temperature rise inside the affected building, which in turn leads to the need for air conditioning, meaning the energy costs on a hot day will be higher for those who own an air conditioning system, or distress for those who don’t.
Luckily, today’s technological advances have enabled a standard solution at a relatively affordable rate. And the solution’s name is: the cool roof. It is designed so that it keeps the surface temperature lower than the traditional roof can in the bright sunshine, as its surface reflects the sunlight and releases the heat more efficiently. The resulting solar reflectance and absorbed heat emissivity are the basis of the cool-roof standard credentials, set forth by Energy Star, the U.S. Green Building Council, and other green certification programs. The higher these properties are (measured on a scale from zero to one), the cooler the roof.
Today, almost any roofing type can be converted or replaced with a cool roof, mostly by adding specific materials or coatings on the surface. In some places, cool roofing systems are required by law for all new commercial construction.
If you are thinking about installing a cool roof, you will need to determine the pitch of your roof first, in order to see which materials are most suitable for your building in particular. Then, take into account your preferred style and budget. Here is a list of the most commonly chosen alternatives of the flat cool roofing systems:
Most common cool roof options for a flat or low-sloped roof:
Single Ply Membrane:
There are a couple of different types of single-ply membranes, but the most common ones are TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer). These membranes hold coatings that are highly reflective and don’t require any additional surfacing.
Also known as BUR, this is the old standard roof made of gravel and tar. Due to its affordability, ease of use and repair, BUR has become ubiquitous when it comes to low-sloped and flat roofing systems. It used to involve black and dark gray colors, which trap a lot more light and heat than they release, but the modern advancements correct that by adding a white reflective spray or rubber roofing system.
Cool roof coatings:
These layers work best with low-sloped roofs that are in good condition and are generally used in re-roofing rather than in new construction projects. We differentiate between coatings which contain ceramic or concrete bits (cementitious coatings), and those that include added polymers that make them less fragile and stick more to the rest of the building (elastomeric coatings). Both layering methods decrease the heat and light retention on the surface of the roof, but the main difference between the two is that the elastomeric coatings are impermeable per se, and the cementitious ones require prior base waterproofing.
At White Roofing Systems we ONLY install Conklin Roof Coatings! If you would like to learn more get in touch with one of our Trained Conklin Contractors in your area.