Urban Cool Roof and...

HoustonUnited States

The Houston Permitting and Green Building Resource Centers are housed within a certified LEED Gold building, which incorporates a large variety of sustainable and low-impact features.

Its roof not only supports this large solar installation, but is designed to follow a ‘cool roof code’, as mandated for commercial buildings by the city. The code serves to reduce buildings’ contributions to the heat island effect (a localized increase in temperature around urban areas, created by their everyday activities).

This roof utilizes solar panels (which also act as additional barriers between the sun’s rays and the roof, helping to keep the building cool), as well as exhibiting a light-colored and more reflective roof material, and vegetated green roof on the building’s side. These features give the roof a very high solar reflective index (SRI) of 89/100.

LEED Building Green Roof

HoustonUnited States

The Houston Permitting and Green Building Resource Centers are housed within a certified LEED Gold building, which incorporates a large variety of sustainable and low-impact features.

This is a vegetated green roof that spans an area of around 1,720 square feet, and can be enjoyed through the windows of a large meeting room and other spaces. The roof system also serves to collect condensate in its troughs, which is practical in a location such as Houston, where a typically hot and humid climate can produce a great deal of moisture.

Overall, green roofs such as this are considered in credits toward LEED certification, due to their added benefit of minimizing possible building contribution to the heat island effect in urban areas. This involves the concept that dense cities tend to show a localized temperature increase, due to the heavy amount of human and industry activity over a small area.

While rooftop cooling efforts such as this are helping to decrease this effect, they may also serve to better insulate buildings, aid with stormwater runoff, and provide help in other aspects that make them a beneficial addition to many buildings.