ASTM standards for measuring solar reflectance and infrared emittance of construction materials and comparing their steady-state surface temperatures

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Conference Proceedings

Date Published




Numerous experiments on individual buildings in California and Florida show that painting roofs white reduces air conditioning load up to 50%, depending on the thermal resistance or amount of insulation under the roof. The savings, of course, are strong functions of the thermal integrity of a building and climate. In earlier work, the authors have estimated the national energy savings potential from reflective roofs and paved surfaces. Achieving this potential, however, is conditional on receiving the necessary Federal, states, and electric utilities support to develop materials with high solar reflectance and design effective implementation programs. An important step in initiating an effective program in this area is to work with the american Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the industry to create test procedures, rating, and labeling for building and paving materials. A subcommittee of ASTM E06, E06.42, on Cool Construction Materials, was formed as the vehicle to develop standard practices for measuring, rating, and labeling cool construction materials. The subcommittee has also undertaken the development of a standard practice for calculating a solar reflectance index (SRI) of horizontal and low-sloped surfaces. SRI is a measure of the relative steady-state temperature of a surface with respect to a standard white surface (SRI = 100) and a standard black surface (SRI = 0) under standard solar and ambient conditions. This paper discusses the technical issues relating to development of these two ASTM standards.


1996 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings



Year of Publication




Added to JabRef: 2010.04.21


Research Areas