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Cool Roofing Solutions to Reduce the Impacts of Summer Heatwaves

Please Note: This blog post was published in the past and may not reflect products currently offered in your region. For current product availability in your area, please visit our Residential Roofing products page and our Where to Buy page for details.

Think it’s been hot up on the roof this summer? Well, you’re not alone. It is hotter this summer. Already this season, all-time heat records have been set all over the world. According to recent reports, “Overall, 2018 is on track to be the fourth warmest year on record after 2016, 2017, and 2015,” So yeah, roofing this summer will be warm, but thankfully, there’s something we can do about it, and that’s where cool roofing provides a valuable solution.

When the Heatwaves Hit Heat Islands

In addition to record-setting global heat, NASA climate scientists are observing longer, more intense heat waves. These heat waves are particularly problematic for metropolitan populations where ‘the annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F warmer than its surroundings,’ according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Heat waves are often most pronounced in dense, urban areas,” wrote Umair Irfan recently at Vox. “Asphalt, concrete, steel, and glass soak up the summer weather and create a heat island, which can make a city upward of 22°F warmer than its surroundings.”

With such sudden, severe heat in urban areas, “heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality,” said the EPA.

Heat Islands

“Heat waves are especially deadly when nighttime temperatures don’t cool enough to offer urban residents relief,” found Alissa Walker in Curbed. “The human body isn’t able to recover from the effects of extreme heat if air temperatures don’t dip below 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night,” she added.

As the world continues to urbanize, and more people move closer to cities, a 2017 report by the World Meteorological Organization found that, “between 2000 and 2016, the number of vulnerable people exposed to heatwave events has increased by approximately 125 million.”

Cool Roofs Can Help Combat Heat Islands and Even Save Lives

To combat the effect of urban heat islands, the EPA also recommends the installation of cool roofs which, “help to reflect sunlight and heat away from your home, reducing roof temperatures.” In addition to helping a home stay cooler, reducing energy use for air conditioning units (as much as annual energy savings of almost 50 cents per square foot), cool roofs can also help save lives.

Heat-related deaths citywide in Los Angeles could reduce by more than 25 percent from an increase tree canopy paired with programs to cover roofs and pavements with more reflective surfaces, according to the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative. With 125 million more people now vulnerable to heatwave events worldwide, a few more cool roofs could go a long way in preventing heat-related fatalities.

Malarkey Manufactures Cool Roofing Products

Cool roofing products are relatively similar to other roofing materials, save for a few key innovations that Malarkey has honed over the years: asphalt and granules. Asphalt, a common bonding agent for roofing materials, left to its own devices, and exposed to the sun and heat would effectively bake; becoming dry and brittle. Malarkey’s polymer modified asphalt however, uses polymers to delay the baking process and retain the adhesion of granules which protect the asphalt from UV degradation. Using solar reflective, cool roofing granules manufactured by 3M, the surface temperature of the roofing material is reduced, further protecting the asphalt.

Heat Islands

“If you were to actually feel a cool roofing granule surface versus a non-cool surface,” says 3M Industrial Minerals and Products Division, Senior Laboratory Manager, Frank Klink, Ph.D., “you’d probably see 20 degrees [Fahrenheit] or more temperature difference on that surface in the middle of a hot afternoon.”

In areas where the urban heat island effects can make a city up to 22°F warmer than its surroundings, cool roofing granules can help return the balance. 

Cool roofing is also part of Malarkey's line of sustainably-designed roofing products. Included in this family of products are the Ecoasis™ NEX® steep slope shingle line, 524G RCAP Plus reflective cap sheet, as well as many shingle colors. Focused on sustainability through each step of the product’s life cycle - from a shingle’s manufacture to the end of its service life- Malarkey Roofing Products are created for superior performance, reliability, and limited impact on the environment.