The advancement of research in cool roof: Super cool roof, temperature-adaptive roof and crucial issues of application in cities

Dongdong Tian, Jianshun Zhang, Zhi Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cool roofs play a significant role in mitigating urban heat islands, improving indoor thermal comfort, and saving energy. In recent years, with advances in the manufacturing of nanophotonics and metamaterials, researchers have developed super cool roofs where the surface temperature remains below the air temperature in direct daylight and temperature-adaptive roofs where the solar reflectance or thermal emissivity can change with temperature. This paper reviews the research progress and status of conventional cool roofs, super cool roofs, and temperature-adaptive roofs. This paper affirms the role of cool roofs in mitigating urban heat islands and energy conservation. And this paper also summarizes some of the crucial issues that cool roofs may face when used in cities. The effects of cool roofs on urban wind fields, planetary boundary layer heights, and pollutants above cities as well as the effects of sky view factor, atmospheric humidity, dust, and aging on the performance of cool roofs are discussed. The results show that the use of cool roofs is limited by geography and climate. The net cooling power can reach 150 W/m2 in dry, rainless, and clear sky areas. Cool roof technology is less effective in hot and humid climates because the first atmospheric window is affected to varying degrees by the increased radiation medium in the atmosphere, while the second atmospheric window is nearly closed in hot and humid climates, weakening the terrestrial long-wave radiation entering space. The use of cool roofs in warm and humid climates (over 80% relative humidity, with temperature over 24 °C) for most summer nights may limit the radiative cooling performance of the cool roof. The large-scale use of cool roofs in cities near huge lakes or seas may affect the urban wind field, causing a cooling island effect and a local build-up of pollutants. Finally, an outlook on the research prospects of cool roofs was given to provide ideas for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113131
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Jul 15 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Air humidity
  • Indoor thermal comfort
  • Super cool roof
  • Urban heat island

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The advancement of research in cool roof: Super cool roof, temperature-adaptive roof and crucial issues of application in cities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this