white energy smart roof

EnergySmart Roof

The EnergySmart Roof® Cool Colors Save Money and Energy

Did you know that national, independent testing has shown that Sika Sarnafil’s EnergySmart Roof® Cool Color Family can reduce energy consumption, abate urban heat and help slow the reaction of smog-forming pollutants?

Sika Sarnafil’s EnergySmart Roof system features a white, tan, light grey or patina green reflective, lacquer coated surface. These surfaces have been proven to reduce the amount of energy required to maintain comfort in an air-conditioned building by decreasing heat flow through the building envelope. “Cool roofing systems” like these Sika Sarnafil systems can save money, improve occupant comfort, increase a roof’s longevity, and reliably protect a building and its contents.

Sika roofing was the first single-ply membrane manufacturer to label roofing products under the EPA’s Energy Star Roof Products program. This program is a voluntary partnership between the EPA and a select group of roof product manufacturers. The focus of the program is to promote the environmental and economic benefits of reflective roofing. As a Charter Partner of the program, Sika Sarnafil’s EnergySmart Roof® cool color family has gained much attention in the media and with well-known research institutes.

NASA Investigates the Heat Island Effect

In July, 1998, two NASA scientists, Dr. Jeff Luvall and Dr. Dale Quattrochi, conducted research to see if they could identify surfaces that exacerbate oppressive urban air temperatures and accelerate the formation of smog. The NASA team used a specially equipped airplane to record photographic and thermal infrared images in order to detect all the “hot spots” in Salt Lake City, Utah.

NASA Satellite Image

NASA Satellite Image

R.C. Willey Warehouse

R.C. Willey Warehouse

NASA thermal satellite image.

NASA thermal satellite image


The photos above are of the RC Willey building and are a great example of cool roofing. The 865,000 square foot roof utilizes a Sarnafil white reflective roof membrane. The green color of the building in the thermal image above, far right, proves it is absorbing less solar radiation than the surrounding structures shown in red.

The physical and reflective properties of the cool roofing membrane on the RC Willey building illustrate the specific cooling impact that reflective roofs can have in reducing air temperatures within “urban heat islands.“ The air temperature in a heat island is typically 5 to 10 degrees (F) warmer than in surrounding rural areas. Higher temperatures foster an increase in energy demand to run air-conditioning equipment. Consequently, a rise in energy demand leads to a corresponding increase in power-plant generation. Studies have shown that the urban heat island effect costs the United States in excess of $2 billion a year and represents five to 10 percent of the peak electric demand across the country (“Urban Heat Islands and the Roofing Industry,” RSI magazine, 1998).

The Department of Energy has developed an energy savings calculator for projecting the potential savings associated with installing a cool roof instead of a black one, such as an EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) or traditional asphalt roof.  See how much energy your building can save ...

Energy Calculator

"Benefits of Cool Roofing on Commercial Buildings" appeared in the July 2009 issue of RCI Interface.  The article discusses the energy and carbon savings associated with reflective roofs, considers the CO2 generated to manufacture reflective roofing systems, and introduces the concept of a measurable "return" on environmental investment.  For reflective roofs in the U.S., this time period for CO2 "payback" averages just 1.7 years.

Benefits of Cool Roofing on Commercial Buildings