Silicone-coated roof with skylights

Cool roofs are on the rise due to an increased recognition that cool roofs can help your building or home be more comfortable and energy-efficient.

The variety of cool roofing products is also growing. Cool products are now available in all types of materials—from field-applied coatings and factory-coated metal to cap sheets and single-plies to shingles and tiles. There are even “cool” dark-colored products, so no matter what roof type you are interested in, you can find a “cool” product.

A cool roof reflects and emits the sun’s heat back to the sky instead of transferring it to the building below. “Coolness” is measured by two properties, solar reflectance and thermal emittance. Both properties are measured from 0 to 1 and the higher the value, the “cooler” the roof.

What Are the Benefits of a Cool Roof?

A cool roof can:

  • Increase occupant comfort by keeping the building cooler during hot summer months.
  • Cut costs by reducing the workload for HVAC systems and extending the life of cooling equipment.
  • Reduce energy cost by 10-30%.
  • Decrease roof maintenance costs (cool roofs are expected to last longer than the average roof system).
  • Address air pollution and Global Warming concerns by lowering CO2 and other emissions associated with fossil fuel-generated electricity used for air-conditioning.
  • Reduce the “Urban Heat Island Effect” by reflecting heat back to the atmosphere. Urban heat islands occur when a city is hotter than the surrounding rural areas due to dark surfaces.
  • Help with local code compliance since a growing number of building codes have cool roof requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cool Roofs:

Are all of the roofing products on the CRRC Rated Products Directory “cool”?

No. The CRRC does not set a definition for “cool.” We leave this to the code bodies and programs that reference our rating system. The CRRC simply lists the measured radiative property values on our Directory. A product’s placement on the CRRC Directory does not mean that the product is “cool” as defined by any particular code body or program.

Are cool roofs affordable?

Yes. Many cool roof varieties cost the same amount as other comparable roofing materials, and for those that cost slightly more, the difference can be quickly recovered in savings from reduced energy costs. Additionally, some electric utilities offer rebates, which reduce the cost of cool roofing materials.

Will cool roofs significantly increase my heating bills in the winter months?

No. The roof is an insignificant source for heat gain in winter. While cool roof owners may pay slightly more to heat their homes, this amount is usually insignificant compared to the cooling energy savings during the summer.

Does the CRRC manufacture or sell roofing materials?

No. We strictly maintain a rating system for the radiative properties of roof surfaces. We do not make, endorse, or sell any roofing products.

Can the CRRC help answer my product questions?

Yes. Our website can help answer general questions you have about available roofing options. Our online Product Directory can help you find products that meet your needs and compare the radiative properties of different choices.

Can the CRRC tell me which product is best for me?

No. We cannot recommend specific product brands or types. Once you have looked at our Rated Products Directory we encourage you to contact the manufacturer directly, or contact a private contractor or roof consultant to assist in choosing the “coolest” product for your home or project.

Is the CRRC a “California” program?

No. While it is true that California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standard, Title 24, refers exclusively to the CRRC’s Product Rating Program for cool roof credit, aside from the location of the CRRC headquarters office in Oakland, CA, the CRRC is not a “California” program. Any city or state code or program, mandatory or voluntary, may reference CRRC’s Product Rating Program.

The Cool Roof Rating Council was created in 1998 to develop accurate and credible methods for evaluating and labeling the solar reflectance and thermal emittance (radiative properties) of roofing products and to disseminate the information to all interested parties.