Energy Commission Awards $1.25 Million for "Cool Roof" Research

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to Explore Energy-Saving Technology

April 17, 2006 |

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission recently awarded $1.253 million

to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for a three-year grant

to develop, deploy, and validate "cool roof" technology. This project will accelerate the acceptance of cool roofs through rebate

programs sponsored by utility companies; expand the quantity of cool

roofing products available to consumers by working with manufacturers;

create more effective roofing materials; obtain labels from the Cool Roof

Rating Council; and assist in marketing the new roofing products.

Additionally, the funding allows the LBNL to conduct large-scale

experiments to demonstrate the energy savings benefits of cool roofs to

potential utility partners. "I have been an advocate for cool roof technology for many years because

it makes sense -- practical sense and economic sense," stated Commissioner

Art Rosenfeld. "A dark roof can add 20 percent more to the cooling costs

of the building and the State needs to do everything it can to reduce air

conditioning use on hot summer afternoons. I am pleased that California

utilities already offer rebates for this important energy efficiency

technology." While certain European and Middle Eastern cultures, like Greece and Spain,

have long known the benefits of white residential roofs, North Americans

generally consider such a feature unattractive. With recent technology,

however, it is now possible to have a cool roof in colors other than

white. A previous Energy Commission research project involving LBNL,

Oakridge National Laboratory, and eight industrial partners, produced dark

colored roofing materials that decreased energy usage while still looking

attractive. These materials included tiles, coated tiles, shingles, and

metal panels. Another benefit of cool roof technology includes smog reduction, reduced

heat islands, and lower atmospheric carbon levels. Funding for the project comes from the Energy Commission's Public Interest

Energy Research (PIER) program. The program supports energy research,

development and demonstration (RD&D) projects that improve the quality of

life in California by bringing environmentally safe, affordable and

reliable energy services and products to the marketplace. The PIER Program

annually awards up to $62 million to conduct public interest energy

research. This research funding supports the state's 2004 Integrated Energy Policy

Report Update by leveraging energy efficiency improvements on new and

existing buildings. It also supports the 2003 Energy Action Plan by

reducing peak cooling loads in residential buildings and validating and

quantifying the energy benefits of cool roofs to utility incentive

representatives. Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is

the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy

Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy

needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants

50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and

building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting

renewable energy; an planning for and directing state response to energy

emergency. Members of the Energy Commission include: Chairman Joseph Desmond; Vice

Chair Jackalyne Pfannenstiel; Commissioners James Boyd; John Geesman; and

Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld. 

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