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AmerCable Incorporated

Articles - energy conservation  (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)


BASs have changed tremendously since the early days of pneumatic controls. If your current system has limited capabilities, consider approaching the manufacturer to ask about upgrades. If you've decided it's worth the investment to buy a new system, discuss with the supplier how their products will be compatible with future technology. "A service contract on a BAS can help ensure the system is functioning per the design and working as effectively as when it was commissioned," explains Wilcox. "A BAS service contract can keep software and hardware up to date with predictable expenses." Additionally, it's important to make sure the systems controlled by the BAS are operating properly. "The equipment that is being controlled also needs to be maintained," says LeBlanc. "The more advanced automation systems can predict and monitor whether those systems are operating in the peak range of their efficiency."



While the roof might not be one of the first building systems to come to mind when prioritizing how to reduce energy consumption, wise choices in roofing product selection can significantly reduce heating and air-conditioning loads. The level of insulation applied and the surface's reflectivity will greatly impact heat loss or gain. How a cool roof works is relatively simple. It reflects the sun's ultraviolet rays rather than absorbing them--thereby, reducing the amount of heat penetrating into the building and the level of air-conditioning required. According to ENERGY STAR[R], reflective roof products can decrease the amount of air-conditioning needed in buildings and peak cooling demand by 10 to 15 percent.

When comparing various roof systems, turn to the Oakland, CA-based Cool Roof Rating Council (www. and ask manufacturers about reflectivity and emissivity ratings. All low-slope, ENERGY STAR-labeled roofs are required to have a minimum solar reflectivity of at least 65 percent, with an aged value of 50 percent. Reflectivity can also be expressed by a number between 0 and 1; the closer the value is to 1 (or the higher the percentage), the greater the reflectivity. High emissivity may or may not be another important product attribute to consider, depending on the climate zone. Emissivity is the measure of a material's ability to emit heat. It, too, is expressed by a number between 0 and 1, with higher numbers indicating faster heat transfer.

According to the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association's Vinyl Roofing Division in the Vinyl Roofing as a Cool Roofing Solution white paper, "There are several ways to attain the benefits of a cool roofing system. They range from short-term solutions (such as paints and coatings that can temporarily turn dark roofs white) to long-term waterproofing solutions (such as highly reflective white or light-colored single-ply vinyl membranes). Green, or planted, roof systems also fall into this category." Not all systems that deliver high reflectivity are white single-ply membranes. The recent introduction of new pigments has enabled even painted metal roofing systems to offer greater reflectance levels. "I think you'll see more and more of the modified bitumen manufacturers coming out with ENERGY STAR-rated surfaces on their products, such as a highly reflective granule or a coating that is preapplied at the manufacturing plant," adds Gary R. Cattel, president, Roof Engineering Inc., Raleigh, NC.


Re-roofing offers the ideal time to add insulation and a cool roof. However, your 5-year-old roof may be performing well despite its inability to reflect the sun's ultraviolet rays. A tear-off isn't justifiable, but the application of a white or light roof coating might be. Acrylic or elastomeric coatings contain white pigments to boost reflectance and can be ideal for built-up and modified bitumen roofing systems. In addition to increasing reflectivity, coatings enhance the performance of the roof system by extending its life. "It should enhance performance, because now you're restricting moisture contact with the membrane and you are also reducing the thermal load and solar degradation of a built-up roof," Cattel explains. Another method for increasing reflectivity on a dark-surfaced modified bitumen roof is adding white or light-colored ballast.


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