What Really Makes a Roof Cool?

Cool roofing and sustainable (or “green”) roofing emerged as separate, but closely related, commercial roofing industry trends about ten years ago. Today, both cool and sustainable roofing continue to gain momentum, and they are driving change in commercial roofing market dynamics, roof system design and manufacture, product innovation, industry initiatives, selection priorities, building codes, and legislation. They are also sparking a considerable degree of discussion, disruption, and controversy due to their ongoing impact on the commercial roofing industry.

The overall objectives of cool and sustainable roofing have become widely accepted as desirable, sometimes mandatory, criteria for the design, manufacture and selection of commercial roofing systems. Cool and sustainable roofing have both been embraced by a host of industry associations and government agencies, many of which are trying to define the “roofs of the future” – including:

As industry groups continue to develop universal definitions and objectives for cool and sustainable roofing, government agencies at the federal, state and local level are implementing more standards, regulations and incentives to encourage or mandate the use of energy-efficient and/or sustainable roofing systems. These actions, combined with simple but powerful economic factors, are creating increased demand for a new class of High-Performance Roofing (HPR) systems that can satisfy traditional performance criteria – such as installed cost, performance and longevity – as well as relatively newer criteria – such as life-cycle costs, energy efficiency, and preservation of the environment.

In our next installment, we will discuss the High-Performance Roofing trend.