Still cool after all these years

White reflective roofs stand up to scientific scrutiny

Editor's note: The opinions in this article are those of the author's and not NRCA.

Perhaps one of the most significant developments in the low-slope commercial roofing industry during the past 15 years is the increase in the awareness and adoption of the "cool" roofing concept. Light-colored, reflective thermoplastic roof membranes have been used in Europe since the 1960s and in North America since the 1970s, and companies that pioneered the introduction of these materials continue to innovate.

Despite the track record of some cool roof technologies, such as thermoplastic PVC membranes and certain coatings, some critics within the commercial roofing industry have attempted to cast doubts regarding the fundamental science behind cool roofs, their effects on energy in northern climates and their overall performance.

The cool roofing concept