We all know that the summer months are getting even hotter and we will do almost anything to stay cool. The last thing that we need is to be inside a steel building where the temperature can become considerably hotter than the temperature outside.
With temperatures sometimes exceeding the 90s or even the 100 degree mark, it is important to keep steel buildings cool, especially when people may be working inside or even living in a steel building that has been converted into a residential home.
Of course air conditioning is a method that can be used. Some install window air conditioners in their steel buildings or may install an entire air conditioning unit, but sometimes doing so may be rather expensive in several ways. First of all, the cost of the system and the installation can be expensive and then there is the electric bill that comes with it.
Since steel buildings tend to trap heat, the air conditioning system can work very hard and actually not be very friendly to the environment.
Since the sun shines on the roof of the building, there are tasks that can be done to the roof to reduce the absorption of heat. The idea is to get the building to reflect the sunlight to avoid absorbing of the sun’s rays.
These methods are:
- Using asphalt shingles that are of a light color. The color that may do the best is white because white reflects sunlight.
- One may also want to consider white tile to reflect the sun’s rays. It may be a tad bit more costly, but it will reflect a good portion of the heat rather than absorb it into the building. For roofs that reflect light, air conditioning energy can be reduced by up to 23%.
There are other materials that can be used on the roof that has different degrees of reflecting ability. The amount of reflection the roof material has means the more money that will be saved in cooling costs.
- Asphalt shingles reflect 5 to 15% of light and save around 1% of cooling costs.
- Clay tile roofing reflects 25 to 35% of light and can save around 35% on cooling costs.
- Concrete tile reflects 10-30% of light and can save around 20% on cooling costs.
Those roofing materials with tar and gravel tend to not reflect light because they are darker in color.
For those who must use a cooling system in addition to a cool roof system, the amount of money that can be saved is quite significant. Such actions also have a lesser impact on the environment. Doing other things such as placing fans in windows to blow out hot air and pull in cool air can help if the working environment can tolerate not having an air conditioning system in place.
There are some environments in which some sort of air conditioning must be used for the well-being of those working inside the building. However, the roof is what is exposed to the brunt of the heat, so it is the roof that can make a difference in whether or not to have an air conditioning system and it is the roof that also determines how hard that system has to work.
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Written by: Robert Armstrong