U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced a series of initiatives under way at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to more broadly implement cool-roof technologies for DOE facilities and buildings across the federal government. Cool roofs use lighter-colored roofing surfaces or special coatings to reflect more of the sun's heat, helping improve building efficiency by reducing cooling costs and offsetting carbon emissions.

Under President Obama's Executive Order on Sustainability, the federal government has committed to reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions 28 percent by 2020. As part of that effort, Secretary Chu has directed all DOE offices to install cool roofs—whenever cost effective over the lifetime of the roof—when constructing new roofs or replacing old ones at DOE facilities. With cool roofs, these federal buildings will consume less energy, offset additional carbon emissions, and save taxpayers money.

Secretary Chu also has issued a letter to the heads of other federal agencies, encouraging them to take similar steps at their facilities. To offer additional support for federal and commercial building operators that are looking to install cool roofs, the DOE released “Guidelines for Selecting Cool Roofs,” which provides technical assistance on types of roofing materials and how to select the roof that will work best on a specific facility.

For more information or to download a PDF of the guidelines, visit the DOE's Website.