Summary: Cool roofs are designed with materials that reflect more sunlight than conventional roofs, reduce building heat retention, and in turn reduce the urban heat island effect. Cool roofs can reduce internal building temperatures by up to 30%.
Implementation: Set public goals to achieve a certain number or share of cool roofs or square footage within a target timeframe. These goals can be included in a strategic plan.
Considerations for Use: Areas with cold winters will trade-off reduced heat retention during warmer months with increased heating needs and moisture buildup during colder months. Cool roofs work best in areas with uniform building heights. Shorter buildings may cause glare on taller buildings. Depending on the treatment applied, cool roofs lose some surface reflectivity over time. The cost of coating materials will vary based on selected coating and local availability. Integrating cool roofs in new construction is more cost effective than a retrofit, but cool roofs are still one of the most affordable and approachable retrofit measures.
- Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.
CommitmentGovernments set ambitious goals or targets to guide prioritization and investment.
- Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).
Preparatory measures (actions to establish authority to act)Actions to establish/ ensure the authority to act when appropriate trigger-points occur.
- Intervention Type:
Buildings and Built Form
- Target Beneficiaries:
Heat-vulnerable communities, Residents
- Phase of Impact:
Risk reduction and mitigation
Energy savings by building, Indoor air temperature reductions, Number of buildings compliant with provision, Outdoor ambient air temperature
- NYC Cool Roofs Commitment
- Intervention Scale:
- Authority and Governance:
- Implementation Timeline:
Short-term (1-2 Years)
- Implementation Stakeholders:
- Funding Sources:
- Capacity to Act:
High, Low, Medium
- Public Good:
- GHG Reduction:
- Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Co-benefits (Social):
Improve the public realm, Save on utilities