The Department of Energy established the EEB Hub program in 2011, with objectives to promote deep energy retrofits in the Greater Philadelphia region in order to reduce the energy consumption from buildings by 50% within the commercial sector.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Princeton University are conducting an analysis of commercial white and black flat roofs at various insulation values. The goal of this initiative is to determine which roof characteristic provides the best energy efficiency option for the climatic region. This research is planned for the duration of one year, encompassing both summer months and winter months. It addresses the thermal conductivity of the various roofing material on cooling degree days in the summer, and heating degree days in the winter, to provide a thorough analysis of heat transfer through roof systems. Ultimately, this information will help to derive optimal energy efficiency practices for the roofing industry in this region.
Heat flux and thermocouple sensors were deployed within the insulation layers and in the plenum air space within the building of both white and black roofs and compared at similar insulation thicknesses. In addition, a weather station was also established on the roofs to collect atmospheric data along with surface parameters of the roofing membrane.
This project aims to provide data and analysis of the thermal performance of various roofs reflecting on the combination that provides the minimal amount of heat flux variation within the interior and exterior environment. This knowledge will help to recognize which roofing option will be optimal in summer/winter to decrease the cooling/heating load of the commercial buildings for the Greater Philadelphia area, resulting in an overall decrease in energy consumption.