What Is a Cool Roof System?

Traditionally, commercial and residential buildings alike have roofs made from dark materials, such as shingles and tiles. Dark roofing materials absorb more heat than lighter materials, and that heat is transferred to the building, which can drive up interior temperatures. Combatting this additional heat source via air conditioning can increase energy consumption and costs.

A cool roof system uses materials with high thermal reflectivity to deflect heat and sunlight. This minimizes heat absorption and reduces the energy expenditure required to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the building or home.

The Importance of Cool Roof Testing

Investing in a cool roof can have a dramatic impact on a building’s energy consumption and make the building’s interior more comfortable. Cool roofs are rising in popularity, especially for commercial buildings. Large commercial buildings have large roofs, and all that square footage can absorb tremendous heat, increasing the costs of keeping the building cool.

But the impact of cool roofing materials goes beyond a single building. Many cool roofs have the potential to reduce the potency of urban heat islands and reduce the threat of heat exhaustion and other heat-related stresses for residents. This is especially important for densely populated cities in hot climates that may have intermittent, if any, access to air conditioning. Cool roofs can provide “passive cooling” by deflecting heat without the need for electricity or another power source.

Who Can Perform a Cool Roof Test?

Cool roof testing must be performed by an accredited laboratory with the necessary equipment and skilled technicians. Only six laboratories, including ACE Laboratories, have been accredited by the Cool Roofs Rating Council (CRRC) to conduct cool roof rating validation testing on roofing materials and products. CRRC will only accept testing data from these labs when granting CRRC product ratings.

How Is a Cool Roof Test Performed?

Most cool roof testing can be conducted with one of two instruments:

  • An emissometer. An emissometer measures the emittance or thermal radiation of a material. Emissometers contain heaters that can be programmed to emit specific temperatures. Portable emissometers can detect both high and low emittance.
  • A solar reflectometer. A solar reflectometer measures the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) and absorbance of a material. Many solar reflectometers contain a tungsten halogen lamp, which generates the radiation needed to perform the test.

These instruments are portable and can be used in the field, but cool roof testing is usually done in a controlled laboratory environment. Only a small sample of test material is required when using either an emissometer or a solar reflectometer.

Cool Roof Testing Requirements

A cool roof is defined by its ability to deflect solar heat. This is quantified and measured by the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI). The minimum required solar reflectance differs based on:

  • Whether the roof is low- or steep-sloped.
  • Whether the building is low- or high-rise.
  • Whether the building is residential or non-residential.
  • State codes and standards.

Cool Roof Testing by ACE Laboratories

ACE Laboratories is proud to be one of just six laboratories accredited by the Cool Roofs Rating Council (CRRC) to perform CRRC testing for roofing materials. We’ve strategically expanded our testing capabilities to support the construction industry, from roofing to bituminous materials and more. Whether you’re in the R&D phase for a new product, testing new versions of an existing product, or seeking CRRC accreditation, you can count on ACE for expert support, accurate data, and the fastest turnaround times in the industry.

To learn more about cool roof ratings and CRRC testing, talk to a member of our team.