Image: Screenshot via DOE
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced the completion of a new 25,000-square-foot cool roof on the Department of Energy's headquarters west building in Washington, DC. The design added no extra cost to the roof replacement project, and is projected to save taxpayers an annual $2,000 in energy costs.
The roof is in line with Chu's own orders from earlier this year to increase the number of white roofs at DOE facilities. DOE will install another cool roof, this one 66,000 square feet, on its headquarters' south building in the spring. The combined energy savings for taxpayers will be $8,000 per year between the two roofs.
Most TreeHuggers will know the benefits of cool, light-colored roofs: they reflect more of the sun's heat, which improves efficiency within the building as well as keeps the surrounding neighborhood cooler during summers. Carbon emissions are reduced, as are costs associated with cooling the building.
"Don't re-roof with a blacktop roof just because that's the roof you're used to," Chu says in the video below, released to show off the new white roof. "The cleanest source of energy is the energy you don't use."
The DOE blog explains more about the energy savings produced by efficient roof design:
A cooler roof means lower energy bills -up to 10-15% lower - when it's warm out because your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard. Saving energy means lower greenhouse gas emissions because we don't need to burn as much fossil fuel. And less heat absorbed by building rooftops means cooler communities in the summer.
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab estimate that if just over three quarters of our nation's commercial buildings were retrofitted with cool roofs, the U.S. would save enough energy on air-conditioning to reduce CO2 emissions by about 6 million metric tons each year. That's like taking more than a million cars off the road.
More on green roofs
New Study Supports White Roof Painting to Cool Climate Change
Green Roofs Growing in US
4 Ways To Green Your Roof
Spectacular Green Roof Installed At Toronto City Hall