7 Tips on How to Sell a Cool Roof with a White Coating

The best way to sell white roof coatings is by selling the two primary values to the customer: energy savings and the extension of the roof life.

A roof consultant or salesman with experience and training in this subject can provide a valuable service to a building owner by selecting the right coating for a given roof and ensuring that it is properly installed and maintained, but the first step is to sell the service in the process. Here are seven tips that will help.

Sell the value – White roof coatings protect roof membranes with a chemical barrier to prevent leaks and reflect sunlight, which both saves money on cooling costs, but also protects the life of the roof by protecting the surface from ultraviolet (UV) damage. Savings will be greatest in states like California and other southwestern states that enjoy more sunny days and more intense sunlight than other regions of the country, but savings can also be realized in northern climates during the summer.

Show the math – Various models exist for computing energy savings based on various climates.  Use online calculators to estimate the energy savings from reflective roofs have been developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cool Roof Calculator and Cadmus Group’s Roofing Comparison Calculator.

Dispel bad information – For those wondering if a reflective roof causes increased heating costs in the winter, studies by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory indicate that in most U.S. climates, summer air-conditioning energy savings significantly exceed any winter penalty, so there is little or no concern that energy costs will increase with a cool roof. Moreover, temperatures can soar in temperate climates as well.

Save on hardware costs – More than the ongoing energy savings is the up-front savings on air conditioning systems, which are often based on requirements for the hottest days. The total cost of not having a cool roof, including cooling systems and insulation, could be considerably higher than the immediate cost of energy for running the air-conditioning systems.

Use a metaphor – Lower energy use is not the only benefit that accrues from the use of white surfaces. Just as the main reason for using sunscreen is to prevent burns, white roof coatings not only prevent large energy bills in the summer, but can extend the life expectancy of many different types of commercial roofing systems simply by avoiding the high roof temperatures and associated with exposure to the sun.

Reduced roof replacement costs – Most people appreciate that white surfaces result in savings on cooling costs, but enhanced roof longevity, especially in northern states, can be another major benefit that results in at least as much savings.

It can waterproof – Many white coatings are waterproof, but some are not. The property of permeability (perm rating) to liquid water, water vapor, and gases varies greatly, depending on the type of coating. Acrylic coatings are breathable, which means they have a high moisture vapor transmission rate or permeability. Silicone coatings, as well as many urethanes, are also classified as breathable types. Butyl rubbers, Hypalons, and Neoprenes have a very low permeability (i.e., they are highly resistant to moisture transmission). The same applies to asphalt-extended, moisture-cure polyurethanes and SEBSmodified, cut-back, asphalt coatings. The perm rating should not be confused with weatherability or resistance to weathering. A coating with low permeability still may require a protective topcoat to ensure satisfactory weathering resistance

More Information

The White Coatings Council of the Roof Coating Manufacturers Association (RCMA) serves the producers and suppliers of acrylic or elastomeric (non-bituminous) coatings. The council has implemented an industry promotional program and is actively planning programs to respond to targeted governmental and regulatory issues, technical matters and activities, and membership services and programs. The White Coatings Council focuses on describing and promoting the benefits of white coatings in terms that directly and positively motivate targeted end users through a plan to increase awareness and product promotion. The council now has 18 members who are committed to promoting to commercial building owners and designers that white coatings are easy to understand, easy to
apply, and cost-effective. For more information, call RCMA at 202-207-0919.