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Helping the community keep its cool.

Coatings impact our lives on many levels and on a daily basis. Residents in one neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, got a first-hand demonstration of just how much coatings can improve living conditions. Philadelphia-based Rohm and Haas Company's Cool Block project in the Bridesburg section of the city involved coating many of the residential roofs in the 4400 block of Edgemont Street with the company's cool roof technology, a white, acrylic-based reflective coating designed to reduce the amount of heat absorbed by asphalt roofs during the summer months. The goal of the project, which was implemented with the assistance of the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) and Acrymax Coatings, was to reduce the heat in a neighborhood densely populated by senior citizens, one of the population segments most adversely affected by high temperatures.

"When Rohm and Haas Company was approached by the ECA with the idea for this project, our Community Advisory Committee (CAC), an independent advisory panel that serves as a catalyst for open and active communication between Rohm and Haas and the surrounding community to discuss issues and opportunities of mutual concern, saw the initiative as an opportunity for the company to offer one of its own products to positively impact the residents of one of the company's operating communities," says Alex Samuels, Corporate Communications.


Through a grant provided to the ECA, Rohm and Haas Company funded the application of the cool roof technology to the residential block, which was chosen based on a number of factors, including the interest level of the residents. Acrymax Coatings and Rohm and Haas donated the formulated coating products and resins, respectively, while the ECA staff applied the material. Residents reported that their homes had been cooled on the top floor, which, in turn, resulted in some cooling on the lower floors as well. In addition, coating of all of the roofs in the block was expected to result in reduced temperatures at the street level.

"Philadelphia is the perfect place to utilize the cool roof technology," states Samuels. "There are many row homes with flat roofs coated with black tar. These are the ideal roofs for these coatings."

According to Rohm and Haas, studies have shown that buildings with the cool roof technology consume nearly 22% less energy for air conditioning in the summer than one with an uncoated black tar roof. The coating also helps reduce energy demand by 4% in the winter. A further benefit of white reflective coatings is the extended lifetime gained for black roofs. White coatings help roofs last longer by reducing the dramatic changes in temperature that cause roof wear and tear.

The elastomeric cool roof coating contains Rohm and Haas' 100% acrylic EC technology. The coating has been designed to be highly durable and resistant to dirt so that it remains white. The polymer exhibits outstanding adhesion while also possessing the necessary flexibility to retain that adhesion as the roof expands and contracts in response to wide temperature variations, according to George Daisey, technical group leader. The elastomeric cool roof coating also serves to protect the underlying substrate from the elements, preventing substrate degradation.

Because flat or low slope roofs are the ideal substrate for cool roof technology, the acrylic elastomer has also been designed to be resistant to water submersion and to not swell, blister, or lose adhesion if water ponding occurs. The coating also possesses excellent emissivity and allows any heat that is absorbed through the roof to be re-emitted.

"Much more is required of the reflective coatings used for this purpose," says marketing manager Bernadette Corujo. "The flexibility of roof coating polymers is designed to withstand the wide change in temperatures experienced in the summer and winter," she adds. "Traditional white house paints will fail when used in this application. They are not designed to perform under the conditions present on rooftops. Rohm and Haas Company has invested significant resources in developing our cool roof technology so that it will provide the maximum benefit, and do so for many years, extending a roofs life"

For roofs not suited for coating with the cool roof technology, other alternative technologies are being developed. New infrared reflective pigments are being introduced to the market that may have application in residential buildings where the roof is visible from street level. With the current pigment technology, though, there remains an order of magnitude difference between the performance of coatings containing these pigments and white reflective coatings, says Brough Richey, global technical manager with the formulations group at Rohm and Haas. With individual states beginning to pass energy savings regulations, advances in this area pigment technology will most likely continue.


Demand for white reflective coatings is clearly on the rise as a response to the increased interest in energy efficiency. In the meantime, the residents of the 4400 block of Edgemont Street are more comfortable in their homes since the cool roof coatings were applied. They also have a better understanding of the operations of their neighbor, Rohm and Haas Company, and how much of a positive impact coatings can have on their lives.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology
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Title Annotation:Coatings Xperience
Publication:JCT CoatingsTech
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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