This easy-to-read, fact-filled resource covers everything from how a cool roof works, material selection and applications to precautions, considerations and roof care and cleaning.

The Department of Energy released the guidelines this week as part of its cool roof initiative.

Cool roofs reflect sunlight and reduce heat gain, which decreases the need for air conditioning, saves energy and reduces carbon emissions. Cool roofs also reduce the heat island effect found in urban and campus settings where concentrations of black or dark roofs and paved surfaces create areas where the ambient air temperature is higher and the air quality is poorer.

Packed with charts, tables and photos, the 23-page guide was prepared by the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems for the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Federal Energy Management Program provided additional technical support.

The guidelines are a great resource for building owners, facilities and real estate portfolio managers, and residential property owners. The guidelines can be downloaded free from the DOE at www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/coolroofguide.pdf.

More information on the DOE's initiative is available on its cool roof page. Coverage of the initiative is available from GreenerBuildings.com.