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Saving Energy with Reflective Roof Coatings

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by Danny Parker and Steve Barkaszi
Research scientists with the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In one experiment, Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory examined the savings due to reflective roofing systems installed on three buildings in Sacramento, California. One was an occupied residence with R-11 ceiling insulation under a composite shingle roof. The initial roof reflectivity was measured at 0.18, and this was altered to 0.78 by application of an elastomeric roof coating. Furthermore, the air-conditioning cooling load in the building was reduced by 69%, with a 28% reduction in peak electrical demand, and the seasonal energy savings amounted to a reduction of approximately 14 kWh per day and a 1 kW in peak power demand.

The second and third buildings were test bungalows. In both cases, the buildings' corrugated metal roof albedo ( reflectivity), was increased to approximately 70%, and measured air conditioning energy use was reduced by approximately 40%-50%.

Results of Reflective Roof Retrofit Field Tests-Florida

Test Site and Description Savings
Site #0 Merritt Island --
white ceramic coating on asphalt shingles, concrete block with R-25 ceiling insulation, attic duct system
Site #1 Cocoa Beach
white ceramic coating on asphalt shingles, and flat gravel, R-11 attic insulation, attic duct system
Site #2 Cocoa Beach
white elastomeric coating on tar paper; flat roof and no attic insulation, attic duct system
Site #3 West Florida
white elastomeric coating on asphalt shingles, no attic insulation, no attic duct system
Site #4 Miami
white coating for gravel roof, R-11 attic insulation, attic duct system
Site #5 Merritt Island
white elastomeric coating on tile roof, R-7 attic insulation, attic duct system

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