Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Heat Island Effect

Building Code

Air Quality Requirement | Building Code | Building Codes | Building Standard / Energy Code | Climate Action Plan | Comprehensive Plan and Design Guidelines | Demonstration Project | Green Building Program and Standards | Incentive | Outreach and Education Program | Procurement | Research | Resolution | Tree and Landscape Ordinance | Urban Forestry Program | Weatherization | Zoning Code | All

State - LocalityInitiative TypeLink Exit EPADescriptionDate
California - StatewideCool RoofsTitle 24, Part 6


2008 Updates
California Code of Regulations: California's Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings - In response to electrical power shortages, the state of California added cool roofs as an energy efficiency option to its building energy code (Title 24) in 2001. The code defines a cool roof as having a minimum solar reflectance of 70% and minimum thermal emittance of 75%, unless it is concrete or clay tile, in which case it can have a minimum solar reflectance of 40%. This 40% rating incorporates new cool-colored residential products into the standard. In 2005, these cool roof provisions became mandatory requirements for all new non-residential construction and re-roofing projects that involve more than 2,000 square feet (180 m2) or 50% replacement. The code allows owners to meet these requirements in a variety of ways. The simplest approach is to apply a cool roof that meets the minimum requirements. Another alternative is to use products that do not fully meet the cool roof criteria and then offset those reduced performance levels by implementing other measures, such as insulation and window improvements, that exceed minimum requirements. The third, and most flexible option, is to use whatever methods are deemed practicable as long as the code's specific performance goal is reached; in this scenario, the building owner creates a model of all the characteristics that affect the energy consumption of the building to determine the mix of measures that will meet the code criteria. The California Energy Commission provides computer software for this compliance option. California began the process of updating Title 24 in late 2005, with final revised standards due in 2008. As part of this update, California is investigating extending cool roof requirements to the steep-sloped market.Active
Florida - StatewideCool RoofsChapter 13 Energy Efficiency (PDF)2007 Florida Building Code - Florida gives cool roofs credit in its building energy code. Buildings using a roof with 70% minimum solar reflectance and 75% minimum thermal emittance are eligible to reduce the amount of insulation needed to meet building efficiency standards, as long as a radiant barrier is not also installed in the roof plenum or attic space.Active
Georgia - StatewideCool RoofsSee Section 704 (PDF)Georgia Amendment to the 1995 CABO Model Energy Code with Georgia Supplements and Amendments - Georgia was the first state to add cool roofs to its energy code, in 1995. Georgia allows a reduced roof insulation level if a cool roof with a 75% minimum solar reflectance and 75% minimum thermal emittance is installed. Note that if the insulation level is reduced when a cool roof is used, there may be no net energy savings.Active
Illinois - ChicagoCool Roofs; Green Roofs; Trees and Vegetation; Cool PavementsChicago Department of EnvironmentChicago Urban Heat Island Mitigation Program - The City of Chicago's Department of the Environment has been involved with reducing urban heat islands for several years. Some projects Chicago has conducted include constructing a porous pavement alley, revising the city's building code to require cool roofs, and launching a green roof program.Active
Illinois - ChicagoCool RoofsChicago Energy Conservation CodeChicago Energy Conservation Code - Chicago's energy code contains a section on "Urban Heat Island Provisions", which sets out requirements for both solar reflectance and emissivity for low and medium sloped roofs. In January 2003, the City of Chicago amended its energy code to require roof installations on or prior to December 31, 2008, to meet a minimum solar reflectance of 0.25. The amendments apply to most air-conditioned buildings with low-sloped roofs. After December 31, 2008, contractors must use roofing products that meet or exceed the minimum criteria to qualify for an ENERGY STAR label.Active
Oregon - PortlandGreen RoofsChapter 33.510 (PDF)Central City Plan District Zoning Code - In 2001, Portland, Oregon modified its zoning code to include an "eco-roof development bonus" for developers to install green roofs (which are called "eco-roofs" in the code). In Title 33 of the Zoning Code there is a floor area ratio bonus for projects that install green roofs in Portland's central district. The bonus amount depends on the extent of the green roof coverage. If the green roof covers 60% or more of the roof surface, developers can build an additional 3 square feet (0.3 m2) for each square foot of green roof. If the green roof covers a lower percent of the surface, the bonus is reduced.Active
Texas - DallasCool Roofs; Green Roofs; Trees and Vegetation; Cool Pavements Sustainable Skylines - Dallas

Urban Heat Island Project
Dallas Sustainable Skylines Initiative - The Sustainable Skylines initiative is a three-year partnership between the City of Dallas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTOG) to promote sustainability within the City via voluntary programs which emphasize air quality improvements. The initiative has identified the following categories of potential projects to initially perform together: green buildings project, creating a greenhouse gas strategy, green taxis project, off-road equipment replacements and retrofits, renewable energy/energy efficiency outreach program, and an urban heat island project. The goal of the urban heat island project is to develop and implement an urban heat island program for the City of Dallas that will both decrease heated surfaces and increase permeability of surfaces in the Central City and other areas of Dallas.Active
Texas - HoustonCool RoofsSee Section 5.4.3.5 Cool Roofs (PDF)City of Houston Commercial Energy Conservation Code - The City of Houston created this energy conservation code to provide requirements for the design and construction of new buildings. Cool roof requirements are included for new buildings. The code requires low slope roofs up to 2:12 to be covered with a surface that has a minimum solar reflectance of 0.70 and a minimum thermal emittance of 0.75.Active

Jump to main content.