Owners and tenants of commercial properties usually only think about their roofs when there is a leak that needs repairing. However, many are discovering that their choice in roofing materials can help them save on their bottom line.
“Cool roofing” products help reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills — important considerations for all business owners. Materials are classified as “cool roofing” if they reflect a significant amount of sunlight off of a roof surface while also absorbing solar radiation. By doing so, cool roofs prevent heat from being transferred to the interior of the building, causing less strain on air conditioning and keeping cooling costs at a manageable level.
Cool roofs were first utilized in the Southern US — an area known for its long, hot summers. Recently, cool roofs are spreading to other areas of the US as facility managers and construction professionals look to optimize energy performance and save money.
A number of roofing materials are considered to be cool roofing, such as:
- White or light-colored membranes: Made from materials such as thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, these membranes have significantly lower surface temperatures than those with dark colors.
- Metal roofing: Standing seam and metal panel roofs — especially those with light-colored, corrosion-resistant coatings — can deflect a sizable percentage of the sunlight directed at a building.
- Granule-surfaced membranes: Manufacturers of bituminous roofing membranes (many of which are black or dark-colored) have introduced products with a surface layer of mineral or ceramic granules. These light-colored surfacing agents deflect sunlight and minimize heat transfer.
As more building owners and roofing contractors discover that cool roofs can lower utility bills and increase the environmental performance of their properties, these materials will become more prevalent. Learn more about cool roofing and other roofing products in Commercial Roofing, a new comprehensive industry study by The Freedonia Group.
About the Author: Matt Zielenski is an Analyst at The Freedonia Group, where he researches trends in the use of building materials and related construction products.