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FIELD TIP - New Coating For Cool Metal Roofs

   Author: MetalMag

Solutions to these challenges have been worked on for years by government and by members of our industry. One initiative encourages lighter roofs to reduce heat absorption and energy usage in sunnier climates. This has worked well, but limits the design options that homebuilders and architects can offer while satisfying energy guidelines. And, since homes add twice as much to the heat and pollution problem than cars, the residential market is a key component in reducing an area’s heat factor and energy consumption.

Now, a new ULTRA-Cool heat reflective coating introduced by BASF at METALCON 2001 seems to offer a better option for metal roofs. According to BASF, this premium cool coating for metal substrates provides more heat reflectivity and helps reduce energy consumption. In fact, the coating increases the reflectivity of medium to darker colors to a level that will meet the Energy Star program specifications for Cool Roofs.

Research from the Department of Energy shows that one additional percentage of reflectivity in a coating, on average, will reduce roof temperature by one degree.

BASF statistics show that ULTRA-Cool coatings provide an average solar reflectivity of 38.3 percent compared to the average solar reflectivity of 25.2 percent for conventional coatings on standard colors. On darker colors, the averages are approximately 30.1 percent reflectivity for an ULTRA-Cool coating against a 13.9 percent reflectivity for conventional colors. These values are based on statistics for roofs in the same urban area covered with a color range of popular conventional coatings.

In the process of developing the coatings, BASF, along with the MCA (Metal Construction Association), MRA (Metal Roofing Alliance) and Cool Roof Rating Council, became involved with congressional activities related to writing energy laws. Legislation is in process now that will have metal roofing with heat reflective pigmentation as part of the coating on a piece of metal. An effort is also at work to reach a consensus on identifying the proper specifications. Although BASF’s work was focused on getting its product approved, the company’s efforts were helpful to the entire metal roofing industry.

"The actual wording that was included is ‘metal roofing.’ Prior to our work on behalf of the ULTRA-Cool coatings, metal roofing was not part of any energy bill," says Bob Scichili, Business Development Manager for the Industrial Coatings Division of BASF.

Working with government groups at the national and local levels made them aware that the metal in construction industry is working on the energy issue. "Our activities in developing this coating helped put metal in a better light with governing bodies. And, introduction of this coating gives the metal roofing industry an image that we make roofs better and cooler," says Scichili.

The company has applied for an Energy Star partnership for its ULTRA-Cool coatings. Since every color has to be certified and has to have been on a building for three years before it can be certified, this can be a lengthy process.

Scichili says that any color that is currently used as a Kynar/Hylar finish can be made into an Energy Star ULTRA-Cool color. The number of colors available in the ULTRA-Cool coating is now close to 200, and more are being added as the product reaches deeper into the marketplace.

In getting the coatings into the market, Scichili says the first step is to educate roofing system providers. "Manufacturers have to understand what they are selling, so right now our approach is educational. The next step will be to involve roofing contractors. This product will strengthen the position for metal roofing as manufacturers sell more of it," Scichili says.

BASF has been working with Classic Products, Inc. and Custom-Bilt Metals (both are manufacturers of metal roofing systems for the residential market) on bringing the coatings into the market. "Classic Products and Custom-Bilt have either jobs in progress or completed. Four of the roofing applications from Classic Products were used to demonstrate the coatings at METALCON," he says.

Architectural Metal Systems is also involved, and is about to embark on a major program to incorporate ULTRA-Cool coatings in its product lines, according to Scichili.

The new coatings using Kynar/Hylar may cost more to install, but save homeowners money in the long run. "The higher upfront cost becomes miniscule in the final outcome. The Department of Energy is working on calculating how much the savings in energy usage means to the government and how that will transfer to the homeowner. A calculator is being developed for steep roofs, 2:12 and above, to show the fabricator and the homeowner the savings. As the energy problem continues, these coatings will definitely be a key to reducing smog, saving energy and cutting operating costs," says Scichili.

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