California law now requires builders to apply roofing material that stays 50 to 60 degrees cooler than conventional black torch-down product to new flat- or nearly flat-roofed commercial buildings. The same applies to existing buildings getting new roofs. The cool roof regulations (part of Title 24 Section 10-113 in California's Code of Regulations) became effective more than four years ago and have driven quite a bit of industry sophistication. The Oakland-based Coolroofs.org, operated by the Cool Roof Rating Council, offers educational courses, product reviews and a long list of members involved in the roofing industry. The bottom line is cool roofs save energy. The payback isn't fast, but reduced utility bills come immediately after installation. The SJVCEO is working with the City of Delano to put cool roofs on two fire stations. The process is similar to any roofing project. For one, it's not cheap. But the outcome is a reduction of greenhouse gasses in the long run and less expensive building to operate in the Valley's severe climate. The Cool Roof Rating Council explains the technology using a white T-shirt analogy: A cool roof reflects the sun’s heat and radiates it back into the atmosphere, keeping a building's internal temperature cooler. Whereas a black traditional hot-tar roof, like a black T-shirt, absorbs more heat. And the CRRC says a cool roof need not be white. "There are many 'cool color' products which use darker-colored pigments that are highly reflective in the near infrared (non-visible) portion of the solar spectrum." Expect to see roofing crews install more light-roofed buildings around the region.
Graphic courtesy Cool Roof Rating Council.