A simple way you can reduce costs and improve sustainable practice in your school

Cocoon / 04 February 2021

Each day students and staff walk onto campus and into classrooms, offices and school halls to embrace what the day has to offer. Seldom do we look up and think about the roofs covering each of the buildings used to facilitate the teaching and learning in a school. And yet, they hold an enormous opportunity for sustainable improvement on every school campus.

Sustainability is a key goal for all schools, which include managing output of sustainable waste, the responsible usage of energy, recycling on campus and increasing the utility and longevity of facilities and buildings.

School roofs are not always considered in sustainability conversations, however they can be both a valuable and expensive asset to manage for schools. Ageing roofs with poor insulation can drive a high reliance on air conditioning, which means more emissions and costly utility bills. Roofs can also leak leading to costly damage and repair bills. Replacement of roofs adds to landfill, can disrupt school operations and severely impact the budget.

However new, sustainable technologies can provide schools with an opportunity to utilise their roofs to improve their environmental goals, without a high financial penalty. The principle behind this new technology, Cool Roofs, is in fact hundreds of years old and has been used in some of the hottest parts of the world in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. However modern manufacturing methods have allowed the development of Cool Roof technology that can be applied to existing buildings.

It works simply by applying a waterproof, heat reflective membrane to the surface of your roof. The membrane goes on like paint and forms a protective barrier. Cool Roofs use a highly reflective material that reflects heat and reduces the heat load on buildings. In addition, the membrane repels water and solves any leak issues.

On a traditional ‘hot roof’, as the heat collects, a microclimate forms meaning that ay infrastructure on the roof’s surface is quickly functioning under extreme conditions. This isn’t the case for roofs treated with the Cool Roof system. For roof-mounted air conditioning units, Cool Roof’s provide cooler air to work with making the system more efficient. Similarly when paired with solar panels, cool roofs help to maintain an optimum temperature for the system to work in.

How has the system worked in other schools?

    1. Fairfield Primary in Melbourne was lucky enough to receive a building grant under the Rudd government BER building scheme to construct a multi-purpose hall. While the building was aesthetically pleasing, the construction was from materials that caused the building to heat excessively on hot days, rendering it unusable. A Cool Roof application meant that the facility became usable 365 days a year, improved teaching and learning conditions and reinstated an important revenue stream through the hiring of the hall. Click here to see what they had to say.
    2. In an independent study run at McKinnon Secondary College on two hot portable classrooms, they saw a 51% energy consumption reduction in the building coated with Cocoon’s Cool Roof Membrane. You can view their video testimonial here.

“Roofs are a money pit for schools”, said Principal Pitsa Binnon of McKinnon Secondary College “and fixing a roof is very difficult. So, this has really brought about a significant improvement for us and learning for our kids”

“It is a really important step for our school to not only help children learn about sustainability but to actually practice it”.

If you have an interest in sustainability and want to demonstrate to students that you mean business, a Cool Roof is worth considering for your school.

For further information please contact Shaun Griffin [email protected] or 0417 158 304