DOE Installs 'Cool Roof' on DC Headquarters

DOE Installs 'Cool Roof' on DC Headquarters

Taking a page out of its playbook, the Department of Energy has replaced a roof at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., with a cool roof made from light-colored material that is expected to save taxpayers $2,000 a year energy costs.

The new cool roof covers 25,000 square feet atop the DOE's Headquarters West Building. In spring, the department plans to replace the 66,000-square-foot roof of the DOE Headquarters South Building with a cool roof. Together, the new roofing systems, which include increased insulation, are expected to save taxpayers $8,000 in energy costs.

Roofs made with white or light-colored materials or similarly hued special coatings reflect heat and absorb less solar energy than traditional roofs so that buildings require less energy for cooling. Cool roofs also reduce the heat island effect caused by a concentration of black or dark-colored surfaces such as traditional roofs, pavement and parking lots.

According to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, using roofs and pavement made with light-colored materials in urban areas around the globe can potentially cancel the heating effect of as many as two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

In July, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the DOE's Cool Roof initiative and directed his department to install cool roofs when constructing new ones, or replacing old ones, as long as it is cost effective to do so. Chu also urged other department heads and agency leaders to do the same, and he released the DOE's Guidelines for Selecting Cool Roofs.

The cool roofs concept got another boost this fall when New York City highlighted its CoolRoofs program as part of Climate Week NYºC 2010.

"The reason why we wanted the DOE to take the lead in cools roofs is to demonstrate that this really saves money," said Chu on Tuesday in announcing the completion of the cool roof on the DOE Headquarters West Building. Installing light-colored instead of traditional material did not add to the costs for the roof replacement project, according to the DOE.

Here is a video about roof replacement project:

Cool roof installation images and video courtesy of the DOE.