Cool Roofs

A cool roof reflects sunlight and efficiently emits heat. Standard roofs can reach temperatures of 150°F or more in the summer sun. By installing a cool roof, you can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50°F and save energy and money by using less air conditioning.

Materials & Colors

Cool roofs can be made by using a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. A cool roof doesn’t have to be white. Many cool roof products use darker-colored pigments that are highly reflective in the near-infrared part of the solar spectrum, which is not visible to the human eye. A white roof will typically be cooler than a dark roof because it reflects both visible and near-infrared sunlight.

Converting to a Cool Roof

If you want to convert an existing roof, you have the following options:

  • Retrofit the roof with specialized heat-reflective material
  • Re-cover the roof with a new waterproofing surface (such as tile coating)
  • Replace the old roof with a new cool roof.

Planning Considerations

If you are building a new home, decide during planning whether you want a cool roof.

Look for ENERGY STAR® certified roof products when planning your cool roof. You can also find information at the Cool Roof Rating Council.

Nearly any type of home can benefit from a cool roof, but consider climate and other factors before you decide to install one. The Department of Energy’s Cool Roof Calculator can help you estimate your potential savings from a cool roof.

Visit to learn more about cool roofs.