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Washington - Secretary Steven Chu today announced the completion of a new cool roof installation on the Department of Energy's Headquarters West Building. There was no incremental cost to adding the cool roof as part of the roof replacement project and it will save taxpayers $2,000 every year in building energy costs. Cool roofs use lighter-colored roofing surfaces or special coatings to reflect more of the sun's heat, helping improve building efficiency, reduce cooling costs and offset carbon emissions. The cool roof and increased insulation at the facility were installed as part of the federal government's commitment to lead by example in increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon pollution and demonstrating the benefits of clean energy technologies.
The Department of Energy also released today a video with Secretary Chu that shows the installation of the roof and explains some of the benefits that come with this important technology. The video is available on the Energy Blog.
"The Department of Energy is leading by example, demonstrating how cool roofs can help achieve significant energy and cost savings. This is a simple, low-cost technology that can provide tremendous benefits for government, businesses and homeowners across the country," said Secretary Chu.
Earlier this year, Secretary Chu directed all Department of Energy offices to install cool roofs, whenever cost effective, when constructing a new roof or replacing an old one. The Department's new cool roof on the West Building covers approximately 25,000 square feet. In the spring, DOE will also install a cool roof on the Headquarters' South Building, covering approximately 66,000 square feet. As a result of the new cool roof installations on both buildings, taxpayers will save a total of $8,000 per year in energy costs.
Roofs and road pavement cover 50 to 65 percent of urban areas. Most traditional dark-colored roofing materials absorb 80 to 90 percent of incoming solar energy, increasing temperatures on the surface and in the case of roofing, heating the building, which in turn requires additional air conditioning. White or special "cool color" roofs absorb less than 50 percent of solar energy, reducing the roof temperature and decreasing the energy used in air conditioning.
A dark roof can reach temperatures above 180F on a hot day, while a cool roof can stay 50 degrees cooler. A study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that using cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can help reduce the demand for air conditioning, cool entire cities, and potentially cancel the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.
Consumers can find Energy Star cool roofing products for homes and businesses at EnergyStar.gov.