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About Cool Surfaces

Home - About Cool Surfaces

What is a cool surface?

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Cool Surfaces refers to all materials and technologies used in the construction of the building envelope that improve thermal comfort. Our current focus is on the Cool Coatings applied to roofs and walls by painting the prepared surface. Surfaces that reflect lots of solar energy and release lots of stored heat energy (i.e., white roofs, light-colored pavements. Cool surfaces are measured by how much light they reflect (solar reflectance) and how long they hold heat (thermal emittance).

The project began as a collaboration between the South African and US Departments of Energy, under the Clean Energy Ministerial. The Cool Surfaces Project is the response to South Africa’s building need for a quality energy passive, low cost, low maintenance cooling technology that is fire retardant and water proof

There are many materials available but the current focus is on the Cool Coatings applied to roofs and walls by painting the prepared surface. Surfaces that reflect much of the solar energy and release much of the stored heat energy can materially improve living conditions. Cool surfaces are measured by how much light they reflect (solar reflectance) and how long they hold heat (thermal emittance).

A cool roof substantially reduces the cooling load of the building, providing several direct benefits to the building owner and occupants. A building that does not have air conditioning, is kept at a cooler and a more constant temperature. Ina building with air conditioning, the equipment does not have to work as hard. A cool roof can significantly reduce cooling energy costs. The average energy savings range from approximately 7%-15% of total cooling costs.

Goals and objectives

This initiative is a multilateral collaboration that seeks to improve building energy efficiency and comfort as well as to address urban heat and climate change. Towards these ends, the Cool Surfaces Project’s objectives include:

Sharing best practices on cool surfaces (roofs, walls and windows);
Establishment of an industry association to support SA DOE / SANEDI to accelerate technology adoption;

Quantifying the impact of cool surfaces through accredited M&V;
Developing infrastructure to support markets for cool surface products manufacturer;

Building capacity and supporting labour skill sets and training for cool surface deployment;
Informing and supporting sustainable low-income housing projects.