Telangana became the first state in India to have a “Cool-Roof Policy”, intended to reduce the impact of urban heat islands and slash power consumption.
Announcing the Cool-Roof Policy 2023-28, Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD) Minister KT Rama Rao on Monday, 3 April, urged builders and individuals to take it forward to make the state thermally comfortable and heat resilient.
The minister said that campaigns would be launched to explain the benefits of cool roofs to the people.
What is a cool roof?
According to a US Energy Department report, a cool roof is a roofing system designed to reflect more sunlight than a conventional roof.
This lowers the temperature inside the building — just like light-coloured clothing keeps a person cooler on a sunny day.
Cool roofs could reflect around 80 percent of the sunlight, while conventional roofs reflect 20 percent.
This would save energy and money in buildings, with fewer air conditioners, or improve comfort and safety in buildings without air conditioning, by reducing heat flow from the roof to indoors.
Most cool roofs have high thermal emittance — the ability to shed heat by radiating absorbed solar energy.
As per the Telangana government, the implementation of the cool-roof policy could bring temperatures down by two to three degrees.
Cool roofing can be done using paint, tiles, or other materials to reflect sunlight. It can also be retrofitted in existing buildings.
Meanwhile, the policy is also expected to develop an ecosystem of suppliers, trained manpower, testing, and material to support the implementation of cool roofs.
With a vision to make Telangana a more thermally comfortable, a heat resilient state, #TrailblazerTelangana Govt takes an innovative step.
— Minister for IT, Industries, MA & UD, Telangana (@MinisterKTR) April 3, 2023
Benefits of cool roof
Cool roofs also lower outside air temperatures to lessen the impact of heat islands.
Heat islands are formed when a city experiences much warmer temperatures than nearby rural areas because it has replaced natural land cover (including greenery) with dense pavements, buildings, and other structures.
Meanwhile, the US Energy Department report said a cool roof can benefit a building and its residents by reducing electricity bills as it decreases the need for air conditioners.
Apart from benefiting the environment, it will also decrease the roof temperature.
It also slows the formation of smog from air pollutants, which are temperature dependent, by cooling the outside air.
Additionally, it also helps in reducing peak electricity demand, which can help prevent power outages, besides increasing the longevity of roofs.
Why does Telangana need it?
The Telangana government said the state is the third-most urbanised in the country, with almost 50 percent of the population residing in urban areas.
“There is a serious need to introduce cost-effective and climate-friendly cooling solutions to counter the urban heat island effect,” KTR noted.
The minister added that by 2030, 200 sq km in Hyderabad and 100 sq km in the rest of the state will be brought under the policy.
Telangana has set a target of cool-roofing 5 sq km area for Hyderabad urban agglomeration and 2.5 sq km for the rest of the state in 2023-24.
It will be doubled annually to reach 200 sq km in Hyderabad and 100 sq km in the rest of the state by 2028-29.
Recalling his conversation with tiles and paints company representatives, KTR said people can recover their investment in cool roofing within two years through energy savings and other methods.
He added that the state government wants to implement the scheme in government housing schemes, government offices, roads, pavements, and cycling tracks.