So the key to maximizing your deduction is realizing that while cool roofs have standalone benefits as part of the building envelope deduction, that benefit gets multiplied when added to energy savings in HVAC and lighting as part of a larger effort. One of the best ways to save energy in HVAC operations is by being able to adjust the size of the equipment to what is truly needed for the space, which is made easier when a cool roof is lessening the heat load on the building.
“The cool roof should enable the property owner to right-size or put in a more efficient HVAC system than he would’ve done previously,” says Goulding. “If one puts in a cool roof, then puts in very energy-efficient HVAC, you can now get that $1.20 (per square foot) by merely getting a 25 percent energy cost reduction compared to ASHRAE 2001. The tax law works holistically, and that’s the way to use a cool roof.”
In non-conditioned space, it’s a little trickier, because the HVAC component isn’t there. But, cool roofs can still team up with more efficient lighting to create a big deduction if the lighting creates enough energy savings to trigger the maximum deduction.
Goulding points out one other benefit to cool roofs on non-conditioned space such as warehouses.
“We have a lot of warehouses in this country that are not conditioned, and it gets pretty tough for the workers in the warm months,” he says. “In a non-conditioned space, there’s an argument for the cool roof just to assist in worker comfort.”