For immediate release: March 29, 2001
Media Contact: Percy Della (916) 654-4989

Switch to Cool Roofs and Save Energy, Businesses Urged

Sacramento -- Wanted: California businesses with flat roofs that need to be replaced or resurfaced and whose owners would choose cool roofing materials over dark ones to save at least 20 percent in air conditioning costs.

The California Energy Commission's Cool Roof Retrofit Program will provide incentives averaging 10 cents per square foot of qualifying roofs. Further information, frequently asked questions and links about cool roofs can be obtained at:

Qualified business customers and roofers may contact the program's four regional coordinators. They are:

"While cool roofs (of white colored materials) do not generally cost any more than dark roofs, they have been shown to lower cooling costs by 20 percent,” said Energy Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld. "This simple change will eventually save California thousands of megawatts of peak power.”

The surface of a dark roof can reach temperatures of 150-170 degrees F during a hot summer day. A cool roof can lower the temperature by 50-60 degrees F, thus reducing the conduction of heat into the building and lowering the amount of air conditioning needed to remove that heat.

Because temperature extremes can contribute to the degradation of the roofing materials, cool roofs can lower roof repair and maintenance costs as well, helping to prevent expensive "tear-offs” and the disposal of tons of old roofing materials in our landfills. Cool roofs also help reduce the temperature of urban areas, lowering what is referred to as "Urban Heat Island” effect, helping to reduce air pollution and the corresponding health impacts.

The switch from dark to cool roofing seeks to save 30 megawatts of electricity in the summer. The idea is to reduce air conditioning load on the electrical grid to prevent energy shortages during the peak summer hours of 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

The $10 million Cool Roof Retrofit Program is part of the Energy Commission's objective of shaving off a total of 220 megawatts of peak demand through conservation measures starting this summer. A megawatt is enough power to light up 1,000 typical California homes.

Funded through a bill signed by Governor Gray Davis, AB 970, the peak reduction program, set aside $50 million to help the Energy Commission cut overall energy use in California through various energy conservation measures. Other specific features of various AB 970 components can be obtained from the Commission's Web Site at:

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