The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is planning to implement cool roof technologies on DOE facilities and other federal buildings, according to an announcement by DOE Secretary Steven Chu. Last October, President Obama signed the Executive Order on Sustainability (detailed here), which commits the federal government to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2020. Under this mandate, the DOE will install cool roofs on all DOE offices whenever it is cost effective over the lifetime of the roof, when constructing new roofs, or when replacing old roofs on DOE facilities. In announcing the initiative, Chu also issued a letter to the heads of other federal agencies that encouraged them to take similar steps. To aid this process, the DOE released guidelines for selecting cool roofs to provide technical assistance.

"Cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions and begin the hard work of slowing climate change," says Chu. "By demonstrating the benefits of cool roofs on our facilities, the federal government can lead the nation toward more sustainable building practices, while reducing the federal carbon footprint and saving money for taxpayers." Read his full memorandum here:

As examples of the initiative, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has installed more than 2 million square feel of cool and white roofs on its sites across the country. This is expected to save the administration an average of $500,000 a year in energy costs, and NNSA has reduced building heating and cooling costs by an average of 70 percent annually on re-roofed areas, according to the DOE. The ODE itself has plans to being cool roof replacements on its national headquarters in Washington, DC, and two projects also are underway at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY. Together, these three projects will cover 350,000 square feet.