Energy hopes green roofs spread like weeds

Tuesday - 7/27/2010, 10:31am EDT

Jen Stutsman, Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Energy

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By Rachel Stevens
Federal News Radio

The Department of Energy has installed more than 2 million square feet of cool- and white-roofs at the National Nuclear Security Administration. And it isn't stopping there.

DoE Secretary Steven Chu recently announced plans to bring this technology to other department buildings as well as other agencies throughout the government.

Jen Stutsman, DOE's deputy press secretary, told the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris this morning that cool roofs can save big money. The NNSA already has seen savings of about $500,000 a year and expects to save more than $10 million over the next 15 years.

The roofs "can reduce the urban heat island effect" and are good for the planet, Stutsman says.

She says cool roofs are a smart call for agencies already planning on replacements. "If you're doing a new installation and you're putting a white roof on a flat roof, there's a pretty negligible cost to having a cool roof," Stutsman says.

But she cautions that replacing an existing roof unnecessarily would probably not be cost-effective. DoE also has put out a roof calculator designed to predict costs. Users can plug in factors like square footage and type of roof to decide if switching to a cool roof makes sense for them.

Stutsman says cool roofs are just one part of the green government imitative.

"The federal government needs to be a leader in moving the country towards clean energy, and we really have an ability to be a test-bed and to encourage commercial building operators and citizens to invest in these same technologies," she says.

Rachel Stevens is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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