The energy and LEED benefits of reflective roof coatings

April 19, 2017

Directly Below Shot Of glass Skylight in a modern building.

A facility in coastal Texas had a major problem. The roof of its 1,000,000 square foot facility had multiple, persistent leaks caused by high heat, humidity, UV degradation, and tropical storm damage. The leaks were so bad they caused work stoppages and even shut down part of the facility. Replacing the roof would have been cost prohibitive.


Instead, the company opted for a reflective roof coating, which fixed all the leaks and reduced the roof temperature by over 30 degrees, providing a cooler work environment and lowering energy use. Additionally, this project helped them meet all the LEED v4 roofing prerequisites and qualify for all applicable credits.


LEED v4 was introduced by the US Green Building Council in 2013 as a more rigorous update to their certification process. This new version included concepts like product transparency, whole building life-cycle analysis, and revised energy standards. In order for a building to be LEED certified it must meet certain prerequisites, including compliance with environmental laws and regulations, occupancy codes, building permanence, and other criteria. Updating your facility’s roof with a reflective coating is a great way to earn LEED credits.


Traditional bitumen, tar, and gravel roofs have a low albedo (often as low as .1), so they absorb up to 80% of the heat they receive from the sun, transfering much of that energy to the building’s interior. Reflective roof coatings feature an albedo as high as .90 (an albedo of 1 represents total reflectivity) and can reduce roof temperatures as much as 60 degrees and interior temperatures as much as 7 to 10 degrees. The lower interior temperatures not only reduce energy costs, but also extend the life of your HVAC system.


In addition to helping earn LEED credits, coatings are categorized by the IRS as restoration, not capital improvement. This allows your business to deduct its expense in one year instead of amortizing it over the life of the roof.


To learn more about how reflective roof coatings can contribute to your facility’s LEED credits, download the white paper published by the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association.


For help on reducing your energy costs and becoming LEED certified, contact Vanguard Resources.