Cool Roof Ratings: How the Metal Roofing Industry Participates in the CRRC Product Rating Program
By Jeffrey Steuben, CRRC Executive Director & Sarah Schneider, CRRC Deputy Director
Twenty years have passed since the Cool Roof Rat- ing Council (CRRC) was first established through a partnership between roofing manufacturers, govern- ment, national laboratories, utilities, and non-profit organizations with the goal of developing a rating system for roofing products based on accurate and credible methods for evaluating a product’s radiative performance (solar reflectance and thermal emit- tance). Knowing the solar reflectance and thermal emittance of roofing products is a critical part of understanding the performance of the building enve- lope and the roof’s impact on building energy use, occupant comfort, and the surrounding environment. Since the early days of the CRRC, the cool roof market has burgeoned with the advent of new tech- nologies and cool colors. With numerous products available for installation on commercial and residen- tial buildings, identifying roofing materials that meet the needs of a project can be a daunting task. To aid in the quest for the right roofing product, the CRRC maintains the Rated Products Directory (coolroofs.org/directory), a free online resource that lists roofing products that have undergone test- ing, weathering, and rating in accordance with the CRRC’s strict protocols. The Rated Products Direc- tory currently contains around 3,000 products with initial and three-year-aged solar reflectance, ther- mal emittance, and Solar Reflectance Index (SRI)). Nearly half of these products are represented by the metal industry. How does the metal industry fit into the CRRC?
Over the years the CRRC has worked with metal roofing stakeholders to address the unique aspects of the industry when it comes to product ratings. For example, factory-applied coatings and factory-coated metal roofing products are available in near infinite colors. Creating different colors involves altering the selection and levels of pigments, which does not affect the radiative performance of a product that falls within a narrowly-defined color range. As can be imagined, it would be burdensome and cost-prohib- itive for companies to go through the process to rate every individual color among the thousands of colors that are available. To address this, the CRRC worked in close collaboration with manufacturers and other stakeholders to develop the CRRC Color Family Program. What is the CRRC Color Family Program? The CRRC Color Family Program is centered around 17 unique color families that were created by the CRRC with input from the metal industry. Each Color Family is categorized by a specific color, with each Color Family given a specified range of color values based on the Hunter L, a, b color scale, as well as assigned radiative property values. A Color Family is then used as the basis of a Color Family Group, which is one or more production line factory-applied coatings or factory-coated metal roofing products that have the same binder or resin technology and that have color properties and radiative properties that fall within the ranges established for the respective Color Family.
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