The benefits of using Reflective Roofing Products are rapidly coming to the forefront. Many cities, states and the roofing industry as a whole have embraced their use in an effort to minimize the effects of Urban Heat Islands, reduce smog and improve energy efficiency. Building and energy codes in many parts of the country have or are being revised to include both reflectance and insulation requirements. The dramatic reduction in surface temperatures that light-colored roof coatings provide, can substantially improve the energy efficiency of a building.
RC-2000 can reduce surface temperatures by as much as 100°F. Studies performed by the Florida Solar Energy Center show that temperature reductions of this magnitude, dramatically reduce the heat transfer into the building and can lower the energy required for cooling by up to 40%. Some estimates put the energy-savings potential of light-colored roofs at $10 billion dollars per year nationally.
In February 2000, the EPA announced its Energy Star Roof Products Charter Partner companies at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) convention in Phoenix. Inland Coatings Corporation is a Charter Partner and is actively developing products with improved energy-saving characteristics.
The Energy Star Program has specifications which all qualified products must meet or exceed. For Low-Slope Roofs, the performance criteria requires that the initial solar reflectance (at time of application) be a minimum of 65%, and a minimum of 50% after three years of weathering.
In August of 2001, Inland completed the required testing on its RC-2000 White Rubber Roof Coating, which has an initial solar reflectance of approximately 82%. All of the coating applications evaluated had been in service for a minimum of three years, were a bright white color and in excellent condition. The solar reflectance on the various buildings exceeded 72%. These weathered results are substantially higher than the Energy Star requirement for new applications and provide insight into the long-term performance of the product. It is worth noting that although Inland's weathered test results were very favorable, they were taken on metal roofing panels, which is an irregular surface. Although additional testing is required, we believe these solar reflectance measurements may still be artificially low, due to the substrate and may not fully reflect the long-term color stability of the product.
Inland's RC-2000 White was designed to repair the roof and reduce the facility's cooling demand with the same capital expenditure. It not only provides a durable, corrosion resistant barrier that reduces thermal shock and UV degradation, it can dramatically reduce roof temperatures and cooling related energy bills.
Inland is currently developing a variety of pastel colors which will meet the initial Energy Star requirement of 65% solar Reflectance. Although these products will be available in the near future, it will take a minimum of three years for them to be qualified under the program. Nevertheless, we feel they will provide excellent weathering and energy-saving benefits.
Although initial solar reflectance measurements provide a starting point when evaluating the energy saving properties of a coating, the weathered measurements that are taken after years of exposure provide significant evidence relating to its long-term performance. If the solar reflectance of a new application is rapidly diminished by discoloration and excessive deterioration, the temperature reductions and energy savings associated with the product will also decline sharply. Additionally, the products ability to resist excessive dirt accumulation is an important consideration, as this can be a primary cause of reduced solar reflectance.
The picture below illustrates the long-term performance of Inland's RC-2000 Rubber Roof Coating and provides a side-by-side comparison of it and a competitive coating. Please note that the RC-2000 is on the left of the structural beam, and the competitors elastomeric latex is on the right. The Inland RC-2000 is visibly much whiter and has significantly higher solar reflectance than the competitive product. Thus the RC-2000 will provide significantly higher energy savings and improved durability.
In early 2001, the roofing project on Public Storage's facility in Memphis, Tennessee was completed by Memphis based contractor Protective Coatings Inc. Inland's line of synthetic rubber coatings were selected for this project and the reflective finish coat was Inland's RC-2000 White Rubber Roof Coating. In October of 2001, Mr. Ed Harris of Protective Coatings requested a utility usage printout on this facility, comparing the electric energy consumption from May to September for the years 2000 and 2001. The results of the report provided by the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division, showed a 32% decrease in energy usage for the year 2001. This represents a very significant reduction in operating expenses for this facility, and Mr. Harris estimates that the project will virtually pay for itself in less than three years.