Cool Roof Overview

Protect Roofing Assets Against Sun Damage, While Extending Roof Life and Providing Superior Waterproofing

Nothing damages your roof more than the sun. Intense heat and UV rays are the leading cause of blistering, splitting and decay of traditional roofs; and that means your roof can't keep out the rain. National Coatings Cool Roof Systems and roofing materials help prevent sun-related damage, make your roofs last longer, and reduce cooling and life-cycle costs.


Simply put, a Cool Roof is a light-colored commercial roofing system that reflects the sun’s heat and damaging rays and readily emits any absorbed solar heat, thereby lowering the roof and building temperature and protecting the roof from sunlight degradation. The potential impact of installing a Cool Roofing System is impressive–-studies show reduced cooling energy demand in buildings by up to 50%. A Cool Roof commercial roofing system saves money, last longer with lower maintenance costs, help reduce power plant emissions, improve air quality, and cut landfill waste.


Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), a U.S. Department of Energy research facility, have teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NASA’s Global Hydrology and Climate Center experts to quantify the benefits to cities and consumers of reducing an area’s Urban Heat Island. For example, LBNL’s analysis shows that since the 1930s, peak summer temperatures in Los Angeles have increased by about 8°F due to replacement of natural vegetation by commercial buildings, pavement and homes. This temperature increase has directly impacted air quality, since smog in Los Angeles tends to rise about 3% with every degree above 70°F. Plus, increased demand for cooling energy results in higher power plant CO2 emissions, a major contributor to global warming.

On a national level, studies show widespread use of a Cool Roof commercial roofing system could potentially save building owners and consumers $1 billion in direct energy usage costs and peak demand charges. Since increased peak energy demands are now also outstripping metropolitan energy generation capacity around the U.S., another significant savings from using Cool Roofing energy saving roof systems and roofing materials includes reduced capital costs for energy providers who can delay investment in new power plants. And owners can save by downsizing their HVAC systems to meet lower peak energy consumption in their commercial buildings.


The graph below shows roof
temperatures for different roofing systems measured in Central Texas on a clear 90°F day. Acrylic elastomeric coating systems reflect sunlight and release heat best, whereas aluminum coatings, dark-colored roofs, and other roofing materials absorb and retain
solar energy so that surface
temperatures reach 170°F-200°F, some 50°F-90°F higher than white acrylic roofing systems.

crs surface
Presented by Walt Driver at a convention of the Society of the Plastics Industry


crs tiles

Note the remarkable protection
this Cool Roof System provided
an otherwise deteriorating
20-year old asphalt roof.


Experts also add that Cool Roof energy saving roof systems and roofing materials provide additional benefits and energy savings associated with sustainability. The highly reflective and emissive qualities of Cool Roof commercial roofing system ensure a longer life than dark-colored or aluminum-coated roofs, which often fail prematurely due to sunlight exposure. For example, beyond the energy savings that allow faster payback on roof investments, Cool Roofing Systems based on proven acrylic technology provide superior long-lasting waterproofing and avoid costly leaks. These roofs can be periodically renewed with re-coats to last decades. A commercial Cool Roofing System reduces capital and operating costs for building owners and property managers.


The exceptional reflectivity and heat release of a Cool Roof significantly lowers roof and building temperatures, reducing overall air conditioning requirements and increasing the effectiveness of existing HVAC equipment. With a Cool Roof System, building interiors experience less pronounced temperature gradients, resulting in higher overall comfort levels, with or without air conditioning. Beyond cost savings, Cool Roofs can result in greater employee productivity, and for retailers they can mean increased customer traffic and satisfaction.


Cool Roofing Systems can cause significant reductions in ground layer ozone or smog, a leading cause of respiratory illness. Smog forms from complex chemical reactions between emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). These reactions are accelerated by sunlight and temperature so that peak ozone levels occur during warmer times of the year. Model simulations from LBNL show that for the Los Angeles basin, Cool Roof Systems installed on 15% of buildings, along with planting shade trees, could reduce summer peak temperatures by about 6°F, translating into smog reductions of 10%. This equates to permanently removing 3 to 5 million cars from Los Angeles freeways!

Other studies show that some 11 million tons of asphalt roofing waste end up in U.S. landfills each year, such that approximately 7-10% of rapidly diminishing landfill space has been taken up by roofing waste over the last 40 years. Because Cool Roof Systems often can be applied directly over traditional asphalt or built-up roofs, sustaining existing roofs with Cool Roof Systems directly reduces toxic landfill waste and avoids high tear-off and disposal costs.


Cool Roof energy saving roof systems and roofing materials have the direct benefit of extended roof life. These reflective and emissive systems block damaging UV rays and reduce high roof surface temperatures that cause asphalt degradation. With unsurpassed waterproofing capabilities, Cool Roof Systems are much more effective than white paint alone in meeting the needs of today’s demanding low-slope commercial roofing. Performance characteristics such as adhesion, strength and stretch levels, exterior durability and resistance to soiling and discoloration are equally important in assuring building owners they have a long-lasting Cool Roof solution.

Proven Cool Roof technology applied by qualified professionals, together with a comprehensive roof management system from National Coatings, guarantees reduced operating and capital costs and a longer, leak-free building life.