<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=884211501743029&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

3 min read

What is a Cool Roof? Why are They Required in Los Angeles?


what is a cool roof - los angeles roof contractor - bay cities construction (1)

Do you know what a Cool Roof Is? Why Do You Need One?

If your roof is getting kind of old and you’ve been thinking of getting your roof replaced you might be in for a surprise, you’ll need to install a roof that meets Cool Roof requirements. As of 2013, the city of Los Angeles requires all new or refurbished roofs to be cool, meaning they reflect more sunlight, and absorb less heat.

 Los Angeles gained notoriety when it passed a Cool Roof Ordinance to update the building code and roof material requirements, becoming the first major city to require Cool Roofs (Phillips, 2013)


What is a Cool Roof?

A cool roof is any roof that uses newer products that can efficiently reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than traditional asphalt shingles. Cool roofs help lower roof temperatures on a hot sunny day and keep home interiors cooler, further reducing energy consumption from air conditioning units.



what is a cool roof - los angeles - bay cities


Cool roofs incorporate light and heat reflecting building materials, which can lower the surface temperature of the roof by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot day, according to Climate Resolve (2013) one of the local organizations that pushed for the ordinance.

Why did Los Angeles pass the Cool Roof Ordinance?

Experts have long argued that cool roofs can help reduce smog levels, heat-related illness/death, and can help reduce energy consumption levels. Based on these potential benefits the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved adopted a cool roof requirement for residential buildings as part of the new Los Angeles Green Building Code. The ordinance was adopted in March 2013 and came into effect in 2015. Since then, owners who are installing a new roof are required to use materials with a Cool Roof rating.

Cool roofs do not necessarily need to be white, the Global Cool Cities Alliance says they can also be shades of gray, or even red (2011). Research suggests that by mid-century temperatures in Los Angeles will increase by 3.7 to 5.4 degrees F, with the number of days above 95 degrees F tripling in the city’s downtown. “The changes our region will face are significant, and we will have to adapt,” said UCLA scientist Alex Hall, who led the research (Lin, 2016) Getting a Cool Roof installed is not much more expensive than a traditional roof, public agencies like LADWP have set aside funds for rebate programs as an incentive for homeowners.


cool roof colors - bay cities construction roof los angeles


Do I Need a Cool Roof?

There are some exceptions to the Cool Roof Requirements:

  • Roofing Repairs (small).
  • Roof replacement of less than 50% of the total surface area.
  • Wherever Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPVs) are installed.
  • Permits issued prior to 1/1/2015 for asphalt shingle or asphalt composition


Where Can I Get a Cool Roof?

Most General Contractors (C ) and Roofing companies can purchase Cool Roof rated materials from building-material suppliers and distributors. You should have no trouble finding cool roof shingles at Big Box stores like the Home Depot or Lowes if you want to do it yourself, although we don’t recommend this. You should hire a professional roofer like Bay Cities Construction to help you with your new roof. Professional roofers that work within Los Angeles city limits are aware of the ordinance and will only install cool roofs.

Los Angeles Depart of Water and Power offers rebates

Rebate for qualifying roofs is $.20 per square foot. LADWP customers can apply online- www.ladwp.com/rebatesandprograms

Qualifying Cool Roofs

For low slope roofs SRI factor of 75

For Steep Slope roofs SRI factor 16

How to Apply

You are going to need the following documents:

  • Roofing agreement or invoice from your contractor. The Invoice must Specify the product make and model number.
  • A copy of your LADWP Bill
  • A copy of the roofing permit

I hope you found this article about 'Cool Roofs' helpful especially if you are in need of a new roof. As a General ContRactor with over 15 years in business I have written hundreds of residential construction blog articles to help you with Kitchen & Bath Remodels, Additions, ADUs and even Roofing. If you liked this article please make sure to leave a comment below and subscribe to our blog.

Want to Learn More about roofs and other repair services?



About the Author - soft story retrofit pros - los angeles retrofit contractor - 23890 hawthorne




- Phillips, Ari (2013) Think Progress, Los Angeles Becomes First Major City to Require 'Cool Roofs'

- Climate Resolve (2013) Cool Roofs, Los Angeles Became a Little Cooler

- Global Cool Cities Alliance (2011) GCCA Overview

- Lin, Rong-Gong (2016) Los Angeles Time, Los Angeles Will Keep Getting Hotter Experts Say

The Best Roofing Contractors in the South Bay

The Best Roofing Contractors in the South Bay

Rain has finally made it's way back to Los Angeles, and if you have an old roof it could soon turn into a leaky roof.

Read More
Water Damage Repair: After Your Leaky Roof Has Been Repaired

Water Damage Repair: After Your Leaky Roof Has Been Repaired

After a strong rainfall, the drywall and insulation material in your attic may have become saturated with moisture. If your attic space does not...

Read More
What is an Earthquake Retrofit? How to Protect Your Home from Quakes

What is an Earthquake Retrofit? How to Protect Your Home from Quakes

Ever since the Ridgecrest Earthquakes struck in July 2019, several friends and customers of mine have asked for my construction advice - they all...

Read More