The U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) first established Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in 1993 with a mission to ”promote sustainability-focused practices in the building industry.” Since those early years, the number of companies seeking LEED certification has grown tremendously.
As the focus on reducing the use of energy (and its associated costs) grows, LEED certification has fast become the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED certification is based on a points system and the more points you earn, the higher your rating. Attaining LEED status can require significant upfront expenses for a builder, but enables big cost savings over time in the form of state and local tax breaks, and bigger and more frequent project wins.
Energy-conscious builders have attained high levels of LEED certification by incorporating energy efficiency into heating, air conditioning and lighting, as well as using insulation and advanced framing techniques in construction; but until recently, roofing material hasn’t played a big role.
An emerging trend, however, is to look to the rooftops to maintain even higher levels of energy efficiency. Just as wearing light-colored clothes can refract the heat of the sun, so too can certain rooftop materials support cooler buildings.
For warmer climates, dark roofing materials can add heat to a home or commercial building’s interior. And that heat gain can drive up your cooling costs, particularly during peak demand times—like the late afternoon—when electricity providers are more vulnerable to blackouts and other problems.
All the Cool Builders are Turning to Cool Coatings
This awareness of starting at the top to repel heat has sparked a growth in advanced new paint technology known as cool paint. Cool paint and coatings reflect the heat of the sun so that the roof surface and the underlying area stays cooler. Cool Paint is enabling buildings to save on air conditioning costs and repel heat-causing infrared radiation, especially in hot climates.
Studies performed on homes in warmer states, such as Texas, Florida, and California found that homeowners could reduce electricity usage by 10 to 30 percent during peak load times just by applying a heat-reflective coating to their roof surfaces. The same is true for commercial buildings, which often have much larger roofs. In fact, Nygra’s white cool coating can reduce heat in commercial buildings by up to 40 percent.
The Sun’s Danger Isn’t Confined to the Skin
Everyone knows that the sun’s UV rays can age skin – or worse – but it also can have serious consequences on roofs, causing materials to deteriorate faster. New Cool Paint technologies are impervious to dramatic temperature fluctuations, repelling heat-causing IR radiation because of their UV-resistant materials which can increase the lifespan of roofs and reduce the costs of repairing or replacing them more often.
In addition to dealing with the challenges of keeping buildings cool in warm climates, urbanization of major cities across the country is causing urban heat islands to form because of the proximity of buildings to each other, as well as the many people and vehicles in a confined area. Having people in buildings without adequate air conditioning in these environments can have serious health consequences.
Saving Energy, Costs in Hospitals and Schools
It’s not only homes, however, that are benefitting from using Cool Paint on their roofs. Facilities, such as hospitals and schools, are reaching their sustainability goals by becoming more energy efficient. According to an article in Healthcare Finance, as hospitals work to shrink their environmental footprints, many are focusing on sustainability to become more environmentally conscious and save money. Hospitals are the second greatest commercial energy user behind commercial food services, according to advocacy group Practice Greenhealth, emitting roughly eight percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, many K-12 schools and higher education institutions are committed to sustainability and energy efficiency; and building green has become the watchword for contractors bidding on key projects.
Given the growing market demand, Cool Paint is being marketed to commercial builders, contractors, but there’s often more than meets the eye when it comes to quality. Before selecting a specific Cool Paint for roof coatings, consider the following:
- Don’t fall for alternative solutions. Traditional acrylic white solutions that are on the market today can crack and collect dirt, possibly breaking down in months, which impacts their overall benefit. Quality Cool Paints contain added polymers which make them extremely durable
- Find out how the coating is applied. Quality cool paints should be able to be applied in one thin layer, including black (the most challenging color). Using one coat is not only faster to apply, it saves on labor costs.
- Ask about the lifespan of the product. The best Cool Paints should remain fully functional and efficient for more than twenty years without the need for reapplication.
Given the focus on building green and complying with LEED certification, today’s builders and building managers are seeking alternatives to traditional materials to help them meet energy efficiency goals, and Cool Paint is fast emerging as the coating of choice to help them get there.
For other ideas about how Cool Paints are being used to address key challenges in a variety of markets, please call us at 978-459-4500 or email us at info@NygraCoatings.com.