Things Have Really Been Heating Up Since 1984

  • Ernie Cecchetto

If you were to go back to the summer of 1984 and ask the youthful version of myself if global warming was a problem… I would have pointed to the terrible summer I was having and the lack of time I was able to spend at Whitewater Beach in Azilda, Ontario. It was a very cool summer and I only went swimming at the beach twice. That and Huey Lewis and the News were getting way too much airplay!

Fast forward to 2015 and according to the National Centres for Environmental Information, “The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for July 2015 was the highest for July in the 136-year period of record, at 0.81°C (1.46°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.08°C (0.14°F).”

So Global Warming is real, there is no denying it and the Urban Heat Island Effect is also a very real phenomenon. But what can we do? One of the biggest issues leading to the heat island effect is the materials we are using to clad our buildings and pave our streets. Often the material has low emissivity and absorbs the heat energy throughout the day, only to release it in the evening when the temperatures normally decrease and provide reprieve.

So why aren’t we looking to change the way our buildings deal with the sun’s energy? It must be extremely expensive to change your existing roof system to help lower the heat load right? Well…actually…no it isn’t. In actuality, it can be incredibly cost-effective and help increase the service life of your existing roof. For more information on cool roofs, feel free to contact me and be sure to read the US Environmental Protection Agencies Compendium on cool roof systems.