The un-cool consequences of cool roofing

Cool roof systems are not a universal fix for climate change and energy savings


During the past 15 years, reflective, or "cool," roofs have been promoted as an effective way for building owners to save energy and lower utility costs while reducing a building's carbon footprint. The belief white roofs always are the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient choice is widely accepted. There are even white roofing mandates for commercial buildings at the state and local government levels. Cool roofs are seen as a quick, low-cost solution to reduce global carbon emissions, in turn affecting climate change. However, cool roofs are not a quick fix for climate change and may actually increase energy consumption in certain climates.

Cool roofing promotion

Adding to the popular belief reflective roofing is a quick fix for climate change and the best way to achieve energy savings, institutions and researchers have promoted reflective roofing regardless of geographic location. Cool roofing has been touted as an easily attainable method for achieving energy savings, climate zone or insulation levels notwithstanding.

Despite the promotion of the cool roof concept, roofing professionals know different geographic areas, climates and weather conditions require different types of roof systems. Despite what theories may suggest, there is not a one-size-fits-all roofing solution for energy savings.