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Making Roofs Both Cool and Colorful

Friday, April 11, 2014

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Dark, attractive metal roof and façades that are just as "cool" as their traditional white counterparts are the goal of a new research partnership by PPG Industries and the Department of Energy.

DOE has awarded Pittsburgh-based PPG a $224,000 grant to help develop new pigment technology for cool metal roof and façade coatings.

© ChrisHepburn / iStock

PPG and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are developing a "more advanced class of dark-colored pigments" for cool metal roof and facade coatings.

Together, PPG’s industrial coatings business and Berkeley Lab plan to produce “a more advanced class of dark-colored pigments that can convert a portion of the absorbed visible light energy into NIR energy that is radiated away from buildings.”

Solar Reflectance Study

“While painting a metal roof white is the simplest way to keep the sun’s energy from heating a building’s interior, most consumers will do so only if the roof is flat,” PPG explains.

“For sloped roofs, they prefer darker coatings that absorb more visible light, including many that also absorb more invisible NIR solar radiation. Because colors absorb more solar energy as they get darker, buildings with dark-colored roofs are warmer and more expensive to cool than buildings with white roofs,” the company says.

‘Significant Advance’

PPG says the new pigment technology would be a significant advance over cool-coating pigments now on the market.

white roofs

Buildings with white roofs are less expensive to cool than those with dark-colored roofs, PPG says.

Further, the partners estimate that cool coatings based on the new pigment technology could achieve effective solar reflectance (ESR) values of 0.5 to 0.7, compared to ESR values of 0.1 to 0.3 for standard pigments.

An ESR improvement of 0.4 and widespread deployment of coatings with these pigments for residential applications in warm and hot areas of the United States could save up to $1.3 billion annually in related energy costs, the partners say.

© Steve Wanke Photography / courtesy of PPG Industries Inc.

The partners say the cool coatings based on the new pigment technology could achieve effective solar reflectance values of 0.5 to 0.7, compared to ESR values of 0.1 to 0.3 for standard pigments.

This isn’t the coating maker’s first joint project with Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

Recently PPG partnered with the lab's Heat Island Group to study the effects of dirt build-up on cool roof coatings and with the lab's Windows & Daylighting group to examine energy-efficient window designs.


Tagged categories: Coating chemistry; Coatings technology; Cool roof coatings; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Metal roof coatings; Pigments; PPG; U.S. Department of Energy

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