Department of Energy Headquarters Installs Efficient Vinyl Cool Roof Vinyl Info

Department of Energy Headquarters Installs Efficient Vinyl Cool Roof Vinyl Info

WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 1, 2011 – The West Building of the Department of Energy headquarters has been protected with 25,000 square feet of economical, durable, and energy efficient white PVC roofing.  No incremental cost was incurred to add the cool roof as part of the replacement project.

Cool roofs use lighter-colored surfaces or special coatings to reflect more of the suns heat, improving building efficiency, reducing cooling costs and offsetting carbon emissions.  The new DOE roof uses PVC material at a thickness of 60 millimeters, and helps achieve President Obama’s goal of reducing the government’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has directed all Department of Energy offices to install cool roofs, whenever cost effective, when constructing a new roof or replacing an old one.  He said, The Department of Energy is leading by example, demonstrating how cool roofs can help achieve significant energy and cost savings.  This is a simple, low-cost technology that can provide tremendous benefits for government, businesses and homeowners across the country.”

In the spring, DOE will install a cool roof on the Headquarters South Building, covering approximately 66,000 square feet.  As a result of the cool roof installations on both buildings, taxpayers will save a total of $8,000 per year in energy costs.

Roofs and road pavement cover 50 to 65 percent of urban areas.  Most traditional dark-colored roofing materials absorb 80 to 90 percent of incoming solar energy, increasing temperatures on the surface and raising the heating in the building.  This requires additional air conditioning.  White or special cool color roofs absorb less than 50 percent of solar energy, reducing the roof temperature and decreasing peak energy demand by as much as 10 percent.

A dark roof can reach temperatures of 150 F to 190 F on a hot day, while a cool roof will increase only 10-25 degrees above ambient temperature under the same conditions, up to 50 degrees cooler than a dark roof.  A study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that cool roofs and cool pavements can help reduce the demand for air conditioning, cool entire cities, and potentially cancel the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.  They estimate if three out of four commercial buildings in the United States were outfitted with cool roofs, the savings in energy for air conditioning would reduce CO2 emissions by about 6 million tons each year, the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the road.

Many owners of large commercial, industrial, and residential buildings, as well as national associations and government agencies are installing white reflective vinyl roofing membranes to save costs and energy.  The Department of Energy’s national laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. installed cool roofs, as has the Environmental Protection Agency’s facility at Research Triangle Park, N.C.

In addition to saving energy, PVC roofing membranes also display strong resistance to fire, extinguishing itself when the flame source is removed.  As a testament to its fire resistant qualities, a PVC cool roof was installed on the headquarters of the National Fire Protection Association in Quincy, Mass.

The Vinyl Roofing Division of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association also note reflective single-ply roofing systems enhance the life expectancy of both the membrane and the building’s cooling equipment.

Department of Energy Headquarters Installs Efficient Vinyl Cool Roof Vinyl Info

The Department of Energy released a video with Secretary Chu that shows the installation of the roof and explains some of the benefits that come with this important technology.  The video is available on the Energy Blog.

The Vinyl Institute represents the leading manufacturers involved in the production of PVC/vinyl resin in the United States, and promotes the value of PVC/vinyl products to society.

For more information on The Vinyl Institute, contact:

Jeffrey B. Palmer

Director of Marketing & Communications


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