Cool roofs relative increase in popularity as of late can be attributed to the problem of “urban heat islands.” This phrase describes the trend of an increased aggregate temperature in urban areas in contrast to surrounding suburban or rural environments. The problem is typically attributed to two factors: a concentration of building materials in urban areas which retain heat, and inefficient building techniques which result in higher energy costs associated with heating and cooling.
There are unseen costs associated with instituting cool roofs in certain climates. Studies indicate that costs might offset benefits in certain northern climates where heating costs may be higher. Also, there are extremely specific installation and maintanence measures which must be taken to ensure efficient performance. Poor installation can result in problems within the first few years of installation, and preventative measures against dirt buildup must be constantly taken to allow the reflective materials to work properly.
There are various rebate and tax credit programs associated with cool roofs which vary on a state-by-state basis. The Cool Roofs Rating Council keeps a comprehensive list of these programs sorted by state which can be accessed on line at http://www.coolroofs.org/codes_and_programs.html#rebate.
I believe these houses would want white or lighter colored shingles or other materials to build their roof verses painting existing shingles, which probably wouldn’t hold the paint well or look desirable. I think many people don’t know about the potential savings and most people aren’t familiar with the availability of white shingles. Some people may think they aren’t desirable in terms of appearance. In addition, white shingles are best in places that are sunnier and warmer year round. One issue with using the color white is that this color shows dirt more visibly than other colors.
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