Why a light-colored roof can be a good investment
The ability of cool roofing materials to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than darker roofs is well known, but the full range of benefits extends much farther than reflectivity. Cool roofs come with myriad benefits on both micro and macro levels, according to the Global Cool Cities Alliance, an advocacy group for solar reflective urban surfaces. These benefits include:
Saving energy: Reflective roofs cool down buildings by several degrees and save money by cutting cooling energy demand by up to 20%.
Saving lives during heat waves: Installing cool roofs and vegetation can lead to a measurable reduction in heat deaths by making daytime weather conditions tolerable. One study found that a realistic 10% increase in reflectivity and vegetation could reduce heat wave deaths by 6%.
Enhancing occupant comfort: A cool roof can help lower indoor temperatures by several degrees. The impact is greatest on the floor directly below the roof.
Improving conditions for nearby buildings: Heat takes a disproportionatetoll on low-income residential communities that typically have older, lower quality building stock, less tree cover and fewer buildings with air conditioning.
Strengthening the electric grid: Cool roofs directly help reduce excess urban heat, which causes up to 10% of U.S. peak electricity demand for air conditioning. Even a small change in temperature on a warm day can make a big difference in energy demand.