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Cool roofs


In hot climates, a lighter colored roof can lower air-conditioning cost by reflecting the rays of the sun. A white roof can bring about annual cooling savings of 10-50 per cent. Lighter colored shingles can reflect up to 25 per cent of the sun's rays while metal roofs can reflect up to 70 per cent. So when deciding the color of clay tiles or the type of roofing surface you want, it may pay to think about light colors or metal surfaces.

Cool roofs are also important in urban areas because they curb what is known as the "urban heat island effect". This happens when dark roofs absorb the sun's rays and then release the heat back into the atmoshere as air temperatures drop.

Scientists theorise that if there were enough cool roofs in place, the air temperature could be lowered. Berkeley Lab is particularly interested in cool roofs and its Heat Island Group (HIG) has even mapped the heat reflected by San Francisco roofs. The HIG says cool roofs bring about numerous benefits including cooler outside air, fewer power plant emissions, better air quality, slowed climate change, energy and cost savings, reduced electrical grid strain and improved indoor comfort.

The downside to cool roofs, it says, are an increased need for heating in winter and glare.

Governments also like the idea of cools roofs. The Cool Roof Rating Council was created as long ago as 1998 to develop accurate and credible methods for evaluating and labeling the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of roofing products. This information is provided to roofing manuafactures and any other interested parties. has been compiled as a resource for home owners seeking help with roofing, and also as a helpful aid for businesses providing roofing services.