Sacramento - Record-setting July temperatures are reminding Californians once again of the important connection between heavy air conditioning demand on hot afternoons and the need for conservation to help protect the State's electricity supply. Fortunately, national retail chains such as Wal-Mart, Sears, Target and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse have already discovered a simple and highly efficient way to reduce their cooling needs on hot summer days: "cool roofs." By already installing this simple technology, these corporations are helping California stretch its power supply to prevent shortages and higher costs.
Almost a third of the electricity used on a hot summer afternoon in California is purchased to keep buildings cool. A "cool roof" can reduce electricity consumption in any one building by an average of 20 percent.
The idea behind cool roofs is simple - dark colors absorb more heat than light-colored materials. As a result, a traditional dark roof absorbs over 70 percent of the energy radiating down from the sun. In sunny California, that translates into peak roof temperatures that range from 150 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit on hot summer days.
In comparison, light reflective cool roofs are, on average, 50 to 60 degrees cooler.
Since most commercial buildings in California have low-sloped or flat roofs that are ideal for cool roof applications, cool roofs are among the most cost effective investments in energy efficiency that any business can make. "We look at cool roofs for all of our new locations," said David Houchin, energy analyst for Wal-Mart.
"Anything we can do to save energy is important because we want to deliver the lowest possible price on the products we offer to consumers," adds Mark Seymore, a senior project manager with Sears. "Sears is proud to participate in California's efforts to reduce energy use. Programs such as cool roofs are a win-win, both for Sears and for the state."
Funded by the California Energy Commission, the Cool Savings with Cool Roofs Program is providing rebates ranging from 15 cents to 20 cents per square foot of eligible roofing to businesses and other entities that replace or resurface their old "hot" roofs with new, light-colored, energy-conserving cool roofs.
Wal-Mart is on the line to receive rebate checks of $26,400 and $23,433 for two stores in Corona; Sears has already received rebate checks of $21,245 and $13,256 for stores in Burbank and San Diego; and Target has received an $8,776 rebate check for a store in Rosemead and has a $20,925 rebate pending for a store in Pico Riveria.
So far, Lowe's has been issued rebates totaling over $200,000 for stores in such locations as Roseville, Vacaville, San Clemente, Anaheim, Upland and Burbank. "California's Cool Savings with Cool Roofs Program makes us more competitive, while reinforcing our company's history of good corporate citizenship," said Robin Nickles, Lowe's vice president of retail facilities management.
In addition to energy savings and reduced electricity demand during summer peaks, cool roofs offer other benefits to business owners and the community at large:
- Decreased long-term roofing maintenance and replacement costs.
- Extended life of air conditioning units due to less cycling and operations
- Improved comfort for workers in buildings and on the roof
- Reduced air temperatures surrounding the cool building ("heat island" effect).
- Less roofing waste in local landfills.
For additional information, contact:
National Director of Property Management
Lowe's Home Improvement Stores
Anaheim, Burbank, Palm Springs, Riverside, San Clemente,
Santa Clarita, Upland, West Hills and several locations
Wal-Mart & Sam's Club
Senior Project Manager
San Diego and Burbank, California