Cool and green roofs. An energy and comfort comparison between passive cooling and mitigation urban heat island techniques for residential buildings in the Mediterranean region

M. Zinzi, S. Agnoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

204 Citations (Scopus)


The increase of peak and energy demand during the cooling season is becoming a crucial issue, as well as the intensification of the urban heat island effect. This trend is observed at several latitudes, including areas where overheating was unknown at building and urban levels. This phenomenon involves different issues: reduction of greenhouse gases, quality and comfort in outdoor and indoor environment, security of energy supply, public health. The building sector is directly involved in this change and adequate solutions can provide great benefit at energy and environmental levels. Roofs in particular are envelope components for which advanced solutions can provide significant energy savings in cooled buildings or improve indoor thermal conditions in not cooled buildings. Cool materials keep the roof cool under the sun by reflecting the incident solar radiation away from the building and radiating the heat away at night. Roofs covered with vegetation take benefits of the additional thermal insulation provided by the soil and of the evapo-transpiration to keep the roof cool under the sun. These two technologies are different in: structural requirements, initial and lifetime maintenance costs, impact on the overall energy performance of buildings. This paper presents a numerical comparative analysis between these solutions, taking into account the several parameters that affect the final energy performances. By means of dynamic simulations, the paper depicts how cool and green roofs can improve the energy performance of residential buildings in different localities at Mediterranean latitudes. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66 - 76
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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