01.06.2010

Coolmax™

BlueScope Steel launches new roofing material to take the heat off cooling costs

As energy costs continue to rise and cause concern to commercial and industrial building owners and specifiers, BlueScope Steel has developed a new roofing product that can help to reduce cooling energy costs of a building by up to 7.5%1.

The new product, called COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel in the colour Whitehaven™, can help reduce the annual cooling energy costs of a building by up to 7.5% compared to COLORBOND® steel in the colour Surfmist® which is amongst industry leaders in solar reflectance. Recent studies show that compared to a standard roof made from COLORBOND® steel in Surfmist®, COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel in Whitehaven™ can lower the internal temperature of a non air conditioned building by between 0.5 to 2°C, and when compared to ZINCALUME® steel, it can lower the internal temperature between 2°C and 4°C 2.

By maximising the thermal performance of a building and helping to reduce the ongoing cooling energy costs, a roof made from COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel can pay back the initial investment premium within 5 years3, compared to COLORBOND® steel in Surfmist®.

The new material has been designed to maintain all the qualities of COLORBOND® steel, including the excellent resistance to dirt retention and maintenance of solar reflectance over time. As an example, samples of COLORBOND® steel in Surfmist®, exposed over a decade at the BlueScope Steel testing facility in Rockhampton QLD, retained 95% of their initial solar reflectance.

Garth Weston, Market Manager Commercial and Industrial for BlueScope Steel said: “Cooler, more energy efficient buildings make both financial and environmental sense. The choice of roofing material is critical to help achieve this. COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel meets these objectives while still delivering all the quality, durability and warranty support that comes only with genuine COLORBOND® steel.”

COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel in Whitehaven™ has a 9% higher solar reflectance than COLORBOND® steel in Surfmist®. The surface temperature of COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel in Whitehaven™ is up to 6.5°C cooler than COLORBOND® steel in Surfmist® and up to 18°C cooler than ZINCALUME® steel. By creating cooler, more reflective roofs, particularly in high density areas such as business parks and industrial estates, the intensity of urban heat islands can be reduced.

The term urban heat island refers to the fact that cities and urban areas are often significantly hotter than adjacent undeveloped areas. This is due to cities being comprised of predominantly non-reflective, high mass surfaces that absorb heat, as well as reduced vegetation cover. According to the US Environment Protection Agency website4, the hot, potentially uncomfortable conditions that result often lead to increased energy consumption for air conditioning, which in turn increases elevated emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases associated with power generation.

By creating cooler, more reflective roofs through the use of high solar reflectance products like COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel, particularly in high density areas such as business parks and industrial estates, the intensity of urban heat islands may be reduced locally.

Garth Weston added: “We have been developing and testing COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel over several years and believe it to be a positive step in the creation of thermally efficient roofing materials.

“With urban heat islands now becoming a known issue within both the building industry and with consumers, it was our belief that the development of a high solar reflectance pre-painted product would be highly beneficial.”

As with all COLORBOND® steel products, COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel is extremely durable. Independent three year weathering tests from the Cool Roof Rating Council and the Energy Star Rating Scheme in the US show that white pre-painted metal, such as COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel, has exceptional retention of solar reflectance.

For further information on COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel, visit www.colorbond.com/coolmax or call 1800 022 999.

1 COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel in Whitehaven™ has a 9% higher solar reflectance than COLORBOND® steel Surfmist®. Based on independent roof studies of solar reflectance contained in a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency, this difference could result in cooling energy savings of up to 7.5%. Savings will vary and depend upon the level of insulation, location of air-conditioning ducts, building shape and function.

2 In a building study conducted in Queensland by BlueScope Steel, the room temperature of a building with a roof made from COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel was coolest. The room temperature of the building with an un-insulated roof made from COLORBOND® Coolmax™ steel was up to 1.6°C and 3.7°C cooler than identical buildings with roofing made from COLORBOND® steel Surfmist® and ZINCALUME® steel respectively. Temperature reductions in buildings will be dependent upon the importance the roof plays in governing internal temperatures. Factors such as the presence and amount of insulation, the roof to wall ratio will be important in this regard and may impact any reductions.

3 Expectation for a daytime occupied and air-conditioned single storey commercial building.

4 www.epa.gov