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Today's tip is to use the Solar Roof Index (SRI) to evaluate a cool roof. The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED 2.2 is the first national specification to use a relatively new measure of reporting a cool roof’s properties. LEED 2.2 sustainable sites credit 7.2 states that to receive one point, building owners should use a roof with a Solar Reflective Index (SRI) of 78 over at least 75 percent of the roof's surface for roofs with slopes less than 2:12.
SRI, a unit developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, incorporates reflectivity and emissivity properties into one standardized measure.
SRI is calculated with a complex formula spelled out in ASTME 1980. It measures a roof's combined thermal properties on a scale of 1 to 100, defined so that a standard black (reflectance 0.05, emittance 0.90) is 0 and a standard white (reflectance 0.80, emittance 0.90) is 100. Some hot roofs can have negative values, and some white thermoplastics and white roof coatings have scored as high as 104 to 110.
SRI as a method for reporting cool roof data will probably take a little while to catch on. Most manufacturers still report separate emissivity and reflectivity data in their literature, but the Cool Roof Rating Council, an organization that verifies and labels cool roofing products, has begun using the measure, while retaining reflectivity and emissivity measurements.
Different roofing technologies have different SRI values. Asphalt coatings, for example, have aluminum pigments added to asphalt cutbacks and emulsions to give coatings SRI values of 21-30 on a scale of 0-100.
Acrylic elastometers, on the other hand, have a highly reflective surface, often with an SRI greater than 100. Most highly reflective acrylic elastomers are white, and workers can install them over existing bituminous or non-bituminous roofing. Acrylic elastomers typically are specified at 12 mils for five-year warranties and at 20 mils for 10-year warranties. Some manufacturers specify up to 40-mil applications.