South Street may be the “hippest street in town” but recently one of our Weatherboy meteorologists was able to visit the coolest block in town. Volunteers from over 20 roofing companies were on hand to apply a cool roof coating to a number of homes along West Seltzer Street in North Philadelphia. Liz Robinson is the Executive Director of the Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia was there to oversee the final phase of this project and hopes to do more and more in the near future.
Although it may seem that these roofs only benefit the homeowners of the block, if enough roofs become cool roofs then the entire city will start to benefit. With metropolitan areas you get what is called an urban heat island. Due more paved surfaces and less vegetation, the area can be significantly warmer than it’s surroundings. A few white roofs may make a building cooler, but a significant number of white roofs can have a larger impact.
Robinson states, “There is a point at which the penetration rate of white or cool roofs is high enough that we’re actually reducing the urban heat island impact. That means the entire city is cooler in the summertime.”
The hope is for cities to understand how cost effective the white roof program is and to start to incorporate more and more cool roofs across and entire area. Not only will you reduce your cooling load, but you will also make the area less prone to heat “danger days” and potentially life threatening heat.
So look for more and more cool white roofs to be appearing in the near future hopefully in cities across the country. Until then you will still have to listen to the familiar “cooler in the burbs” line in almost every forecast you hear.