On warm summer days, a city can be 6°F to 8°F warmer than its surrounding areas. This effect is called the urban heat island. Cool roof materials, pavements, and vegetation can reduce the heat island effect, save energy, and reduce smog formation. The goal of this research is to develop cool materials to save energy and money.
The Energy Technologies Area's (ETA's) Heat Island Group research explores the effect of soiling and aging of cool roofing materials on performance, and works with industry partners to develop commercial devices for rapid prototyping and rating of cool roofs. We also help consumers develop and implement cool roof, cool pavement, and urban vegetation programs through demonstrations, a website, and training for building professionals and the general public. Our group also conducts the Next-Generation Materials project, to advance cool roofing materials and bring them to market.
In addition to its work to cool buildings and their surroundings, ETA has conducted projects to increase vehicle solar reflectance—to reduce heat gain and the need for air conditioning in cars, thus improving their fuel economy.