Dow, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to Develop Next-Generation Cool Roofs
Goal is to Increase Cool Roof Energy Savings by Over 50%
MIDLAND, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Dow Chemical Company is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will fund key lab research as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between Dow and DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to accelerate the adoption of cool roof technologies in the U.S. As a critical element 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 research will focus on the development of new solar reflective technologies that would increase by over 50% the energy savings that cool roofs offer for new and existing commercial buildings.
“Dow is a leader in innovative polymer technologies that are used in today’s elastomeric roof coatings for commercial low-slope cool roofs. With this new research project, and working closely with DOE’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, we are looking to push the performance boundaries even further – which could ultimately result in an entirely new polymer technology for elastomeric roof coatings,” said William E. Jackson, global research and development leader for Dow Building and Construction. “We’re excited to be part of this important research project that has the potential to greatly increase cool roof adoption rates and reduce our nation’s energy usage and environmental footprint.”
Cool roof coatings are a cost-effective and relatively non-intrusive means of improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings, which offer over 20 billion square feet of commercial roofing space subject to retrofit in the U.S. today. DOE estimates that replacing or resurfacing conventional roofing materials with these improved reflective elastomeric roof coatings (ERCs) can reduce a commercial building’s annual air conditioning energy use by up to 25% – an improvement from up to 15% savings of existing ERCs – and decrease annual CO2 emission by 5 metric tons for every 10,000 square feet of commercial roof area. These ERCs also potentially offer a one-time offset of 150 metric tons of CO2 per 10,000 square feet of cool roof via “global cooling” (negative radiative forcing). Energy savings are highly variable based on levels of installed insulation, climate, and other related factors. DOE has a calculator to help building owners determine the potential savings of their buildings, which can be found at http://www.roofcalc.com.
Current standards require that after three years of exposure to the elements, cool roofs retain a solar reflectance of at least 55%. The charge of the CRADA is to develop new technologies that would enable cool roof manufacturers to meet a standard of 75% solar reflectance after five years, which would increase cool roof energy savings by over 50% compared to current ERCs.
Dow and ORNL, in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), will focus on technologies to improve the long-term resistance to dirt pick up and microbial growth on white elastomeric roof coatings. The aim of this program is to improve retention of solar reflectance using newly developed and accelerated testing protocols for faster commercialization.
“Elastomeric roof coating technology has been an essential part of our product portfolio for decades, and we see great potential in that market for the future,” says Colin Gouveia, general manager, Dow Construction Chemicals, North America. “This alliance is a tremendous opportunity to advance the chemistries that will help create even more robust cool roof solutions. Being at the forefront of this endeavor is very exciting for our business and for Dow.”
As part of the CRADA, Dow and ORNL/LBNL also intend to develop accelerated weatherization testing protocols that 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. The stated outcome of the CRADA is to commercialize the next generation of polymers for roof coatings to save energy in new and existing buildings, and to advance a predictive accelerated aging/dirt pickup testing program for cool roof coatings.
About Dow Building & Construction
A business group within Dow's Advanced Material Division, Building & Construction is comprised of two business units – Dow Building Solutions and Dow Construction Chemicals – each of which offer strengths in channel management, branding, technology development / support and demand creation. The two business units collectively employ about 1,700 people worldwide, and generate almost $2 billion of revenue while operating more than 30 plants worldwide. Through its strong sales support, customer service and building science expertise, Dow's Building & Construction business units provide meaningful solutions for customers today, while also addressing the industry's emerging needs and demands with advanced industry knowledge.
Dow (NYSE: Dow) combines the power of science and technology with the “Human Element” to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2010, Dow had annual sales of $53.7 billion and employed approximately 50,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 35 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.
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