As anyone who lives or works in the city will attest, it’s hotter in the concrete jungle than it is in surrounding rural areas. Dark colored roofs and pavement, along with fewer trees and shrubs to shade buildings, are a few of the major factors contributing to the “urban heat island effect.”

Hot roof surfaces are being targeted because they are unnecessary sources of heat that contribute to elevated air temperatures and increased demands on air conditioning which, in turn, lead to smog formation. Green roofs and white reflective roof surfaces can both help lessen the urban heat island effect and improve air quality.

White EnergySmart Sarnafil roof on building

White Reflective Roofs

Highly reflective roof surfaces, such as Sika Sarnafil’s EnergySmart Roof®, are being recommended by both the scientific and environmental communities as a way to help mitigate increases in urban air temperatures and to help improve air quality. Dark colored roofs absorb a tremendous amount of solar radiation and become extremely hot. These hot roof surfaces are being targeted because they are unnecessary sources of heat that contribute to elevated air temperatures.

In most geographic areas, an air temperature increase translates into an air quality decrease. Highly reflective roofs diminish this condition and have recently been identified as the environmentally preferable roofing solution.

As the graph shows1, using white, highly reflective Sarnafil roofing membrane can save significant amounts of energy, depending on the location of the roof. When compared with a black colored membrane over a period of 35 years on a roof area of 1,000 m² in Miami, white Sarnafil roofing can result in avoided carbon emissions of about 211.053 t CO₂-eq. per 1,000 m² of roof surface. Saving energy can equate to financial savings, as well; if 80% of all commercial buildings in the U.S. had cool roofs, there would be approximately $735 million in overall energy savings!2

Learn More About the EnergySmart Roof

Sustainable green or vegetated roof with Sarnafil membrane

Green Roofs

More green roofs and fewer dark colored roofs equal a cooler city. Dark roofs retain heat while plants naturally cool their surrounding environments through evapotranspiration cycles. In cities where the ambient temperature can be up to 10 degrees hotter than the surrounding areas, green roofs can help bring the overall temperature down.

Green roofs are great insulators. They can reduce peak energy demand by lowering a building’s cooling costs in the summer months and heating costs in the winter months. The addition of a green roof to an unused area on a building is beneficial for the surrounding environment!

Learn More About the Benefits of a Green Roof 

SarnaBrite SkyLight Program


Two of the roofing industry's strongest brands, Sika Sarnafil and VELUX®, have partnered together to revolutionize the commercial skylight market.

With more than 55 years of roofing and waterproofing experience on the buildings of all types and in many diverse climates, Sika Sarnafil is the worldwide market leader in thermoplastic membrane technology. Likewise, VELUX is the market leader in the manufacturing of the most trusted skylights and roof windows in the industry. 

Learn More About the Benefits of our Skylight Program

Sika Roofing energy efficiency info-graphic screenshot

There may be a hidden cost lurking in your monthly electrical bill. In fact, peak demand charges may actually account for a significant portion of your monthly electric bills!

Click Here to View the Infographic

Setting the Record Straight on Reflective Roofing

Cool Roof Whitepaper-Setting the Record Straight

Despite an enviable performance history, there are some within the commercial roofing industry that have questioned the science behind Cool Roofs. Let's get the record straight! 

Read the whitepaper to learn more the energy benefits of a reflective roof.

Case Study

White Sika EnergySmart roof on store building
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Study

Study Proves White PVC Roofing System Saves Money.

In a two-year scientific study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to compare two distinct types of roofing systems by monitoring and verifying summertime air conditioning and peak electrical demand at a 100,000-square-foot retail establishment in Austin, Texas.

Building temperatures and energy usage were monitored for a period of one year with an existing black rubber EPDM roof. The roof was then replaced with a white, reflective Sarnafil PVC roofing system and the test was run again for the same duration as the previous test.

Download the Case Study Here

Want to read more about cool roofs?

1. “Environment Product Declaration – Cradle-to-Grave for Sarnafil S 327

2. “The Heat Over Cool Roofs: Setting the Record Straight on Reflective Roofing”