Green Vs Cool

November 22, 2013
 Green roofs vs. cool roofs

When it comes to environment friendly roofs, there are two main competitors: green roofs and cool roofs. Green roofs are green not just figuratively but literally as well. That’s because they’re made of living plants. Cool roofs on the other hand are made of reflective materials. Both reduce the temperature of the roof and consequently the temperature inside the building and both reduce the carbon footprint by limiting the energy needed to keep buildings cool during warmer months. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re considering one of these options, here are a few things you’ll want to know.

Environmental friendliness

When it comes to their environmental impact, green roofs have the upper hand. A green roof serves many functions. It absorbs sunlight in order to keep buildings cooler during the summer. It makes a green insulator and keeps buildings warmer in the winter. As a bonus, green roofs reduce storm water runoff and pollution and improve air quality.

Cool roofs also have some environmental benefits. Like green roofs they keep buildings cooler in the summer. But rather than absorbing sunlight, cool roofs reflect sunlight. Unlike green roofs, however, cool roofs do not reduce storm water runoff, reduce pollution, or improve air quality.


When it comes to cost, cool roofs have got green roofs beat. While green roofs have a huge range in price depending on the plants used, they are typically more expensive than cool roofs. A cool roof is essentially a traditional roof but with a reflective coating. A green roof however is a rooftop garden. The cost of the soil and plant life has to be taken into account. Then there is the maintenance that goes into taking care of a green roof.

The final word

If your ultimate goal is saving money on energy bills, the cool roof is going to be your best bet. While you might not save as much on bills during the winter months with a cool roof, it’s lower cost makes it the more cost effective option.

If reducing your carbon footprint is your main goal, a green roof is for you. Expect to dish out more money, but know that your green roof is going to have a better effect on the environment.

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