Up the Roof: Why It’s Cool to be Green

January 1, 2011

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Becoming an eco-friendly or “green” facility is no longer just a hype or trend, it has become a necessity. Green facilities emit less and even near-zero greenhouse gas emissions than conventional facilities. Their carbon footprint is less. Green facilities do their share in saving the planet even as building occupants go about their daily activities within.

Eco-friendly facilities practice sustainable ways and use only materials that have less environmental impact, such as green coatings on walls and floors, and cool roof coatings on roofs. Cool roofs prevent the entry of the sun’s heat into the facility. Cool roof coatings have a reflective ability that bounces off the sun’s rays.

Energy Efficiency in Green Roofs

Cool roof coatings are key to making roofs green. Roofs are exposed to the heat of the sun during the day, leading to a heat buildup absorbed by an ordinary roof’s membrane. These coatings prevent solar radiation from entering the inner spaces of the facility. With less heat penetrating the interiors, the building achieves a more comfortable inner temperature despite the exterior heat.

With tolerable temperatures in the facility’s interiors, the mechanical cooling and heating systems do not have to work hard to maintain comfortable temperatures. When these systems work less, the facility’s energy costs are also less.

One of the distinct characteristics of a green facility is that it spends very little in energy costs. The green facility should be able to maintain comfortable living spaces much like any other ordinary facility, minus having to spend a fortune on energy bills. Traditional energy usage translates to electricity consumption. Electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels like coal and petrol. This method of energy generation results inthe harmful rise of fossil-fuel by-products into the atmosphere, in the form of greenhouse gas emissions.

Electricity is expensive due to the high costs of fossil fuels, and its creation is contributing to global warming and climate change. With warmer weather, urban and congested areas are prone to the heat-island effect, which is increased heat retention in a given area. Such temperature changes can produce intense heat waves and lower the quality of air and the general ecosystem. Cool roofs make it possible for facilities to maintain comfortable spaces despite this heat-island effect and promote energy-savings at the same time.

Energy-Saving Cool Roof Coatings

The most distinctive characteristic of these coatings is their ability to reflect sunlight. Cool roofs mostly come in light colors, which is further sunlight-reflective.

Non-green roofs can be converted into cool roofs with the spray-application of polyurethane-based reflective coatings. Cool roof coatings have good adhesion to old surfaces, and work on asphalt- and bitumen-based roofings. They also have the ability to “flex” or elongate, particularly acrylic- or silicon-based coatings. This prevents the paint from cracking when temperature changes cause the surface to expand and contract.

Nanotechnology has made it possible for infrared reflective (IR) coatings that reflect sunlight and yet allow for dark-colored roof coatings. Pushing the envelope further are cool roof coatings with hollow ceramics that act as an effective heat barrier.


Cool roof coatings are fast becoming the coolest solutions to mitigate the effects of global warming and climate change, with less energy costs at that.

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