MIDLAND, Mich. - The Dow Chemical Co. has announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will fund research between Dow and DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to accelerate the adoption of cool roof technologies in the United States. As part of the research agreement, ORNL will partner with DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to bring a broad range of cool roof technology and experience from their applied research in this field. The new research will focus on the development of new solar reflective technologies that would increase by more than 50 percent the energy savings that cool roofs offer for new and existing commercial buildings.

DOE estimates that replacing or resurfacing conventional roofing materials with advanced reflective elastomeric roof coatings (ERCs) can reduce a commercial building’s annual air conditioning energy use by up to 25 percent - an improvement from up to 15 percent savings of existing ERCs - and decrease annual CO2 emissions by five metric tons for every 10,000 square feet of commercial roof area.

Current standards require that after three years of exposure to the elements, cool roofs retain a solar reflectance of at least 55 percent. The goal of this research is to develop new technologies that would enable cool roof manufacturers to meet a standard of 75 percent solar reflectance after five years, which would increase cool roof energy savings over 50 percent compared to current ERCs.

Dow and ORNL/LBNL also intend to develop accelerated weatherization testing protocols to speed commercialization, and conduct studies to quantify the performance of the new cool roof products. This work would potentially allow DOE to propose new standards for cool roof performance.

For more information, visit www.dow.com.

Publication date:04/25/2011