The Heat is Coming: Be Cool with Cool Roofs

In late March, the Sun crosses the equator and begins to move into the Northern Hemisphere. (We know that the Sun is stationary and Earth is moving, but it is easier to think about it the other way around.) Temperatures rise, perennials bloom, and we’re glad that winter is over. It’s a great time of year. The heavy coats go back into the closet and everyone’s attitude brightens. But we all know those warmer spring temperatures will eventually turn downright hot in summer. Some say it’s getting even hotter due to global warming. A prepainted product is on the market that can help mitigate environmental concerns raised by increasing temperatures. It’s called cool roofing and it continues to rise in popularity.

Cool roofing decreases demand for electricity by reflecting a higher percentage of the sun’s infrared radiation (IR) than standard roofing. The more a roof reflects IR, the less heat that is transferred into a building, and the less electricity that is needed to cool the building.

Because cool roofing is available as a prepainted offering, NCCA member companies can supply such a product. The National Coil Coating Association (NCCA) has supported the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) since CRRC’s inception in 1998 to promote the use of cool roofing for all roofing applications—industrial, institutional, commercial, and especially residential. NCCA supplies the products; CRRC maintains the process to collect and distribute unimpeachable data for solar reflectance and thermal emittance.

NCCA paint companies produce the reflective coatings; NCCA coater companies coat the metal with this solar reflectance paint through the coil coating process. NCCA coater members supply painted coils to manufacturers of metal buildings. These are the companies that fabricate the metal and bring that product to market. Many of these companies are members of the Metal Construction Association (MCA) and the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). Then there is the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), which is dedicated to helping homeowners make educated roofing decisions and connecting them with expert metal roofing professionals.

Why all this fuss over cool roofing? It’s all about heat’s effect on energy demand and human health. More A/C units running means more electricity demand. More electricity means more fuel needs to be burned (natural gas and coal, primarily), which contributes to global warming.

But that’s not all that is accomplished. All urban areas, regardless of location, are hotter than their surrounding suburban and rural areas. This urban heat island effect is the natural consequence of packing an urban area with buildings, pavement, and parking lots at the sacrifice of green space. Heat islands also exacerbate smog formation, which can lead to health issues such as respiratory disorders, cardiovascular dysfunction, neurological disorders, and others.

Any effort to minimize the urban heat island effect is a good thing, and cool roofing is a simple choice that can yield huge benefits. Reflecting the sun’s heat helps to reduce smog, which leads to cleaner, healthier air.Where a problem exists, prepainted metal often has the solution! To learn more, visit NCCA’s website to view the tutorial on cool metal roofs.