White Roofs on Houston Area Schools

houston roofer inspects school roof with fema

As the new school year starts up again, Houston area students are finding themselves inside the classroom even though summer temperatures continue to rage outside.   One of the biggest costs to school budgets is energy costs.  Schools require an enormous amount of square footage to accommodate the number of students.  One general use facility can be well over 75,000 square feet, which requires immense cooling to keep temperatures bearable.  The LeMarque Independent School District in southeast Houston, recently converted from a black roof to a white roof to save on cooling costs.

Rationale for the Switch

LeMarque ISD found that by switching to a new white roofing system, they were able to save on cooling costs.  As energy costs continue to climb this solution was viewed as added value increase over time.   Many other white roofing systems like Flex roofing systems also have hail resistance properties built into the roofing system.  Houston, TX is bombarded with hail every year, causing thousands of dollars in damages and premiums to the school district.  Finally, the school district wanted a roofing system that required minimal repairs.

How it was Handled

Even though not all buildings required new roofs, the roofing components used in the project included 45mm white fleece backed membrane attached to hot asphalt.  Out of the approximately 358,000 square feet of roof area, a mixture of new insulation, vapor barriers, and 2 ply BUR was installed.

Results of the Project

The white roofing system installed on the Houston area roof had a minimum initial solar reflectance of .87 and thermal emittance (a coefficient of how much heat is given off) of .87.  The school district found that cooling costs were reduced by 30-60% on average.  Maintenance costs were also reduced because of the ease of access to the roofing system components as well as ease of repair.  The roofing system used in the project had a single ply membrane which could be repaired with a hot air welding gun.

Future Implications

While white roofing is growing in trend, especially among public and commercial buildings, residential roofs in Houston are often left behind.  The biggest factor for residential homes not electing a white roof is curb appeal.  White roofs have yet to reach a “fashionable” status with homeowners.  However, after seeing tremendous cooling results, architects and other designers will find a more attractive residential solution.

All commercial and municipal buildings that house a large square footage and numbers of people should be using white roofing systems to reduce on energy costs.  White roofing systems save on cooling costs, repair costs, and future maintenance costs, freeing up the public budget for more important matters.

Schulte Roofing is a Houston roofer with over 100 years of combined experience.  Schulte Roofing originally began in Alvin, TX just outside of Houston, TX and has grown a reputation for delivering the best roof for your budget.  If you have any questions about white roofing system for your home, business, or child’s school, contact Schulte Roofing today.