How a Cool Roof System Can Benefit a Building

Western Colloid Cool Roof System
March 1, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By Western Colloid. 

If you’re a building owner who wants to improve your building’s energy efficiency, you may not have even thought about your roof.  

With so many integrated systems — from the building envelope to the heating and cooling system, from the front door to the roof — keeping a building in good repair can be complex for building owners. 

In addition, today’s property managers and building owners are increasingly looking for sustainability solutions to implement in their buildings. The motivation for these new initiatives can vary and include: 

  • Increased demand from high-profile tenants that building owners and operators participate in green building programs like LEED. 

  • New municipal and other governmental codes and ordinances that require buildings to implement green strategies. 

  • Rising energy costs and a move away from fossil fuel-powered heating and cooling. 

  • A desire to find new and long-lasting materials that will help keep the rest of your building’s systems protected and operating properly. 

Improving your roof’s energy efficiency 

When you are thinking about finding energy efficiency gains in your building, the roof may not always come quickly to mind. Apart from options like installing rooftop solar panels or improving roof insulation, you may not see the immediate benefits when compared to more accessible choices like updating to LED lighting. 

In addition, implementing some of those rooftop energy efficiency initiatives can be very costly and disruptive. Solar panels are more affordable than they have been in the past but are still an expensive choice with a slow payback, depending on where the building is located in the United States. 

Have you considered a cool roof? 

A cool roof system is one energy efficiency option that you may not have considered, but it offers a number of benefits including: 

  • Improved energy efficiency 

  • Cost-effectiveness 

  • Easy installation 

  • Compatibility with existing roof systems 

  • Durability and longevity 

A great cool roof option uses white or very light-colored acrylic coatings. If the roof is aged the acrylic coatings may be applied between layers of reinforced polyester fabric. This type of roof is part of the Fluid Applied Reinforced Roof (FARR) system family of roof coatings. These are water-based, low VOC products and they can be applied using a spray or with rollers that spread the coating over the roof surface. 

While cool roofing systems may sound new, in fact, the technology is proven and has been around for over four decades. Cool roof systems have previously been chosen for other factors than their inherent energy efficiency, but today they are becoming increasingly popular with green-minded building owners and operators. 

Let’s look at each of the benefits of a cool roof in more detail: 

Improved energy efficiency 

How can an acrylic coating and polyester fabric improve a building’s energy efficiency? First and foremost, the secret is in the color. While most other roof systems, due to the composition of their top layer, are black or gray, an acrylic FARR system goes on white.  

This white color acts as a reflector for solar energy, whereas darker-colored roofs will absorb that heat. The absorbed heat puts added strain on a building’s HVAC system, requiring the air conditioning to work hard to keep the occupied spaces cool. By not allowing that solar energy to enter the building, a cool roof can reduce a building’s energy costs by up to 30%. 


In addition to the cost savings that come from lower energy demands, a FARR system is a very cost-effective roofing solution.  

FARR systems are applied over the existing roof, drastically reducing the material costs as well as the labor needed to get the project to completion. And, since no significant existing material is removed as part of the project, less waste is sent to landfill, which not only cuts back costs but also is better for the environment. 

Easy installation 

As we’ve discussed, a cool roof is easy to install. Applied over the existing roof, it is significantly less disruptive to a building’s operations than going through a full tear-off and replace project.  

Acrylic coatings are typically available in pails and drums. For projects with limited access, the materials can be lifted to the roof in bulk totes, limiting the traffic and mess as products won’t need to be carried through service elevators and stairways. 


A FARR system is applied directly over the existing roof system. It is compatible with most conventional roof systems, including BUR, modified bitumen, single ply, spray foam and metal.  

In addition, where many building codes limit the number of roof systems that can be installed on top of each other to two, many jurisdictions will allow contractors to install a FARR coating on top of those two existing systems as it is so lightweight. As the owner, you get the added benefits of a cool roof, without having to remove your current roof system. 

Durability and longevity 

A cool roof system is not only energy-efficient, but it’s also long-lasting. Western Colloid’s acrylic roof coatings are FM4470 rated, which means they are proven to withstand hail impacts. The nature of a FARR system, with its layers of coating and polyester fabric, creates redundancies and protects your building from water intrusion. 

And don’t forget about that white color. Because a white cool roof absorbs less UV radiation and solar energy than a darker-colored one, it is less subject to the aging effects of those forces, which means cool roofing materials will last longer. Warranties are available for five, ten, fifteen and twenty years, depending on a few factors such as how many layers are applied.  

If you’re looking to update your roof and improve your building’s energy efficiency, a cool roof may be the solution you need. 

Have a question? AskARoofer

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory. 

Original article source: Western Colloid

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