Twenty-three members of the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) volunteered to apply reflective cool roof coatings on 18 low-income row homes on the 1200 block of West Seltzer Street in North Philadelphia to support the Energy Coordinating Agency’s (ECA) EnergyFit Philly program.
Under a hot sun and high humidity, volunteers climbed up 32 foot ladders to apply reflective cool roof coatings under the guidance and support of ECA’s staff and contractors. Working on houses on both sides of the street, every roof received the first coating in about three hours.
Cooling down with iced water, volunteers listened to remarks by City Council President, Darrell Clarke – who thanked each volunteer personally – while acknowledging the good work by ECA and noting how energy conservation helps residents save money. The Director of Sustainability, Christine Knapp, drew attention to our prolonged heat wave and focused on the value of cool roof coatings to reduce air conditioning use. Finally, Darlene Pope, “the city’s best block captain,” gave the final remarks of the day. Gracious and thankful, and an advocate for clean energy, Darlene thanked the volunteers from RCMA for helping to make this day possible.
ECA’s EnergyFit Philly program preserves affordable housing by repairing, and providing energy retrofits to low income homes in poor condition. It is an innovative approach to the prevention of homelessness by preserving and stabilizing affordable housing that is currently ineligible for energy conservation programs due to roof leaks and other home repair needs. Applying roof coatings on these homes reduces the cooling load and extends the service life of the roofs.
Roof coatings are designed for protecting and extending the service life of roof assemblies for new construction and more commonly, existing roof coverings. Reflective roof coatings extend the life of the roof by reducing heat transfer into the building, decreasing thermal shock, and helping to mitigate leaks.
Roof coatings reflect visible light as well as infrared and ultraviolet radiation, causing roof surface temperature to drop by up to 55°F and decreasing the amount of heat transferred into a building on hot days. Lower roof temperatures in turn help to reduce cooling costs for buildings with air conditioning units and reduce interior temperatures and relative humidity in buildings with or without cooling units. A building owner can experience an energy savings of up to 15% after using a reflective roof coating, according to information from the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR Program. When reflective roof coatings are used on a significant portion of a city’s roofs, they will also reduce the urban heat island effect, essentially cooling the entire city.
Several RCMA roof coatings manufacturer and supplier members have donated their products for use in this project, or volunteered their time to apply coatings to a block of low income row homes on West Seltzer Street. The RCMA is partnering with ECA on this project as part of its biennial industry conference, the International Roof Coatings Conference.