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Energy 101: Cool Roofs

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy

This introductory video covers the basic facts about how to keep residential and commercial roofs cool and why it is important to reducing the heat island effect and conserving energy.

Video length: 2:17 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

About the Science

  • This video states that traditional, dark-colored roofing materials absorb a great deal of sunlight, which in turn transfers heat to a building.
  • Evidence presented on how cool roofs can mitigate the heat island effect in urban areas.
  • The video also discusses how growing vegetation on top of a building is a cool roof variation.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Overall, the video is very easy to follow and presents sound scientific principals in the explanation.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The text version of the video has both the narration and description of the visuals. This can be used with screen readers by visually-challenged users.
  • There is closed-captioned text, but there are some minor inaccuracies.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN


Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-PS4.B1:When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the frequency (color) of the light.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-ETS1.A1:Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

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