Saw an article in the San Jose Mercury News the other day.  About ‘cool roofs’, article written by some guy in New York. 

 So, why is the Merc News printing stories from out-of-state?  Just filling space, cheaply?   That bugs the heck out of me!   This isn’t the first time they’ve printed stories about houses and trends without  relating it to Silicon Valley.  They don’t have to pay a reporter/columnist for the article, it came from one of their newsgroups that they subscribe to or a sister paper.  I’ve seen articles about the housing market in Pennsylvania, for heaven’s sake!  What’s the purpose for that?

Sometimes the articles about trends in back East aren’t very helpful for our area – we have more strict rules about energy use, structural strength and flexibility, secondary dwellings and the like.

 Articles about how to convert your attic or basement?  Making your garage into a granny unit?   How about advising that you close off rooms to save on air conditioning and heating costs?  What the heck?  That last one  is totally at odds with green building practices (your HVAC system works just as hard or harder when you’ve shut the door or vent to a room, so you’re not gonna save money).

Before the whiteness

I wish, though, that they would have one of their columnists write a paragraph or two with the local take on the article.  I don’t mind reading about other areas, but would like to read how it relates to our area.

 Unfortunately, ‘cool roofs’ are frowned upon by many city/county jurisdictions.  The problem is, those cool roofs are highly reflective – which is why they stay cool, duh.  That means that the roof is glaring and stark.  And for an area where skylights have to have dark lenses (so they don’t glow too much at night, yes, really), glaringly white roofs are not acceptable!   Aesthetically displeasing that’s for sure!  In our area, we’ve had to force some towns to allow solar panels on the roof…some HomeOwner Associations won’t allow clotheslines outside.  They’ve taken ‘aesthetically pleasing’ a bit too far, I think.  My sister uses a clothesline, she saves about $30 a month!  She says she hasn’t had a problem with birds, even.

 You don’t have to have a white roof, though.  Sure, you can literally paint your roof white, or have that special stuff  installed like commercial buildings might use, but when its time to replace the roof, there are products that go underneath the roofing material that can create a cool roof and help reduce your indoor temperature by 10-15 degrees (and reduces your carbon footprint) – in fact we used one of those for the house we built 2 years ago – aren’t we special…

Don’t you agree?  😉