• Mark Forbes

Keep Cool with a Cool Roof

Updated: Sep 2

Keep Cool this Summer with a Cool Roof


A cool roof can greatly enhance your ability to keep your building cool in the summer. A cool roof is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard commercial roof. Here’s some information from the U.S. Department of Energy on the benefits of cool roofs.


What is a Cool Roof?


Cool roofs use highly reflective materials such as sheet coverings, reflective tiles and shingles, or paint to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat. Research shows that a cool roof can be up to 50°F cooler than a conventional roof on a hot day.


Dark colored roofs can reach temperatures of 150°F or more in the summer sun. A cool roof, however, may only reach a temperature of 100°F, resulting in a lessened need for air conditioning.



Cool Roof Benefits:

  • Lower roof temperatures, which can sometimes extend roof service life

  • Decreased need for air conditioning

  • Lower energy costs

  • Improved indoor comfort, especially in areas not air conditioned such as covered patios and garages


Environmental Benefits of Cool Roofs


A cooler roof can reduce the temperature of the air around it. With enough cool roofs in an area, they can have a wider effect, which is sometimes called the urban heat island effect.


The reduced need for air conditioning can lower peak electrical demands, which can help prevent power outages. The reduced need for electricity can also reduce power plant emissions.


Types of Cool Roofs


Many types of commercial roofs meet the definition of a cool roof if the proper materials are used. Cool roofing materials can come from the factory in lighter colors or with reflective coatings. In some cases, the roofing materials can also be coated with a special paint-like material.


These thick coatings are white or contain special reflective pigments. They are available for most roof types and are applied when the roof is new. They’re also sometimes used on existing roofs. Some roof coatings offer protection from ultra-violet (UV) light, chemical damage and water protection.



Green Roofs


Another option is to install a green roof. A green roof uses plants on the top layer. Green roofs offer excellent insulation and can lower the need for both cooling and heating. They’re best for flat or shallow-angled roofs. In addition, green roofs help manage storm water.


Should You Get a Cool Roof?


Cool roofs make the most sense in hot climates, or climates such as Denver, where we have hot summers. Cool roofs often do not cost more to install than a conventional roof. If you’re in need of a new roof, talk to your roofing contractor and have them give you a quote for a cool roof.


Converting an existing roof that’s still in good condition can be costly. As a rule of thumb, retrofitting an existing roof to a cool roof makes sense when the energy savings justify the cost of the modification. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory offers a cool roof calculator that can help you determine if a cool roof makes sense for your building.



Your Cool Roofing Experts


The professionals at United Materials are cool roof experts. If you’re considering a cool roof, contact us. Our experienced staff can inspect your roof and give you a detailed plan outlining the costs to install a cool roof or modify your existing roof.


We’re also available for repair, replacement or maintenance needs on your commercial roof


For nearly 100 years, United Materials has served the Denver area and the Rocky Mountain West with the highest quality commercial roofs and roofing services. Contact us today. We’ll get you a roof that meets your needs.


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