Keeping cool: how your roof can help you save costs
With global temperatures rising, the pursuit for more sustainable buildings is in full swing. Solar panels, eco-friendly glass, insulation - all very common, but often costly ways to future-proof a building. So: let’s talk roofing. Because with the use of cooling coatings, roofs can optimize the regulation of heat in buildings and thus reduce energy consumption.
Bas Moeskops, Area Marketer at Lumiforte, discusses the benefits of roof cooling coatings. Bas: “I strongly believe in the potential of these coatings. It’s a relatively low effort and affordable way of optimizing energy efficiency. It lowers energy costs while reducing a building’s impact on the environment.”
How roof cooling coatings work
A roof cooling coating is what we define as ‘passive cooling’. As opposed to ‘active cooling’ solutions like air conditioning, passive solutions are more focused on minimizing heat gain and maximizing heat dissipation. In essence, roof cooling coatings work based on their reflective properties. When applied on a roof, sunlight is reflected before it is absorbed by the surface, lowering the temperature of the building. “The theory is simple, but the effects are substantial”, says Bas. “A coating can lower the surface temperature of the roof by up to 35°C. But the real impact is of course measured indoors. It can lead to a decrease of temperatures of up to 7°C. That’s really significant, as it improves working conditions inside a building while greatly minimizing energy-consuming active cooling.”
Permanent versus temporary coatings
An important distinction to make between roof cooling coatings is their longevity. Right now, most coatings are ‘permanent’ - which means that the coating will effectively remain on the roof for approximately 10 to 20 years. Bas explains: “Permanent coatings have been around for a while, but it’s not always the best solution. Using it means that the roof will deflect heat throughout the whole year - even when you might not want to do so, like in the winter. This is especially true for more moderate climates - that means that if you’re located in an area where temperatures get below 25°C in autumn and winter, a temporary coating is more efficient. That’s why we’ve been working hard on developing more flexible solutions.
A result of our R&D is Cool-FX, a temporary roof cooling coating that progressively wears off over the course of 3 to 5 months. Apart from its longevity, there are other significant benefits compared to traditional, permanent coatings. For example, it’s much cheaper, very simple to apply as it doesn’t require preparation and it is almost fully made from biodegradable materials.”
A new clientele: animals
Currently, roof cooling coatings are often used on buildings like offices and industrial complexes, which is great for improving workplace conditions. But there’s a whole other type of audience that can benefit from these coatings: animals. Bas: “High temperatures can cause heat stress with animals. Especially in the summer it is difficult to regulate temperatures in stables and shelters, so the warmth can become an issue.
Heat stress can have a big influence on an animal’s welfare. Cows, pigs, chicken - they can stop eating, which can greatly affect their behavior and growth. In the Netherlands, several farmers use Cool-FX on their stables every year. It makes a real difference in keeping their animals happy and healthy, while saving costs in energy consumption.”
Roof cooling coatings now and in the future
To conclude his story, Bas discusses what lies ahead in roof cooling coatings: “We’re experimenting with transparent coatings, so in the future it might even be possible to apply them on asphalt, bridges and residential roofs. We’re also looking into creating different variants, like fire-, water and dust resistant coatings. A lot of exciting developments that will make our lives a bit better.”