Sustainable Design for the 21st Century


by Brent Sauser

          About one ago my wife and I had to face the dreaded decision to reroof our house.  The debate was whether we could put it off another year.  We determined that we had put it off long enough.  After considerable research and homework regarding the best way to go, we decided on replacing our old worn out roof with a “cool” roof.  We chose GAF Timberline Cool Series Shingles – “Antique Slate”.  This is an Energy Star product  with the following benefits:GAF Cool Roof Diagram

  • Initial Solar Reflectance:   0.27
  • Thermal Emittance:   0.92
  • Solar Reflectance Index (SRI):  29

An additional benefit to this is a reduction in the Heat Island effect in urban areas.  The Heat Island effect  occurs when roofs and other dark surfaces combine to reflect heat back into the atmosphere which causes a higher overall temperature than in rural areas.   A cool roof minimizes the solar heat gain of a building by first reflecting incoming sun rays and then by quickly re-emitting the remaining absorbed portion. As aheatwave 1 result, the cool roof stays cooler than a traditional roof of similar construction and can contribute to reducing the power demand for air conditioning.  Part of the heat radiating from the sun gets reflected, reducing the heat in the attic, and heat going into the house. It may result in 7-15% savings in total cooling costs.  Over the past year we have noticed a drop in our power bill of around 10%.

The city of Los Angeles appears to be quickly moving in the direction of including a requirement for “Cool Roofs” in the city’s building code.  Cool roofs are already in CAL Green, which took effect in 2011.   It is estimated that “by going to cool roofs for new and existing buildings would reduce the Heat Island Effect, save $30 million on energy bills, and cut greenhouse gases the equivalent of 7 million cars off the road for a year – 80% of LA’s carbon footprint.”

Just think . . . all this benefit to you, your community, and the environment forEnergy Star Logo replacing your roof with an Energy Star Cool Roof.  There may even be financial incentives to replace your roof!  Check it out!

For more information regarding the move to Cool Roofs in Los Angeles . . . CLICK HERE!

Category: Editorial
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