Effect of ageing on solar spectral reflectance of roofing membranes: Natural exposure in Roma and Milano and the impact on the energy needs of commercial buildings

Riccardo Paolini, Michele Zinzi, Tiziana Poli, Emiliano Carnielo, Andrea Giovanni Mainini

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Highly reflective roofs, widely known as cool roofs, can reduce peak surface temperatures and the energyrequired to cool buildings, mitigate urban microclimates, and offset CO However, weathering, soiling,and biological growth affect their solar reflectance. In this study, the solar spectral reflectances of 12roofing membranes were measured before the exposure and after 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of naturalageing in Roma and Milano, Italy. The membranes with an initial solar reflectance greater than 0.80, forexample, decreased in reflectance by 0.14 in Roma and 0.22 in Milano after two years. Then, for a typicalhighly insulated commercial building, the annual cooling load savings were calculated to be reduced by4.1-7.1 MJ m-2y-1per 0.1 loss in reflectance. When the buildings are non-insulated, the savings reductionis 58-71 MJ m-2y-1in Milano and 70-84 MJ m-2y-1in Roma. Ageing yielded a reduction of the coolingload savings that could be achieved with a new white membrane of 14-23% in Roma and of 20-34% inMilano. Moreover, in Milano, an aged, white, highly insulated roof, which has a solar reflectance of 0.56,may reach a surface temperature 16°C higher than a new roof, which has a solar reflectance of 0.80. 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333 - 343
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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