Measuring solar reflectance—Part I: Defining a metric that accurately predicts solar heat gain

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Journal Article

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<p>Solar reflectance can vary with the spectral and angular distributions of incident sunlight, which in turn depend on surface orientation, solar position and atmospheric conditions. A widely used solar reflectance metric based on the ASTM Standard E891 beam-normal solar spectral irradiance underestimates the solar heat gain of a spectrally selective “cool colored” surface because this irradiance contains a greater fraction of near-infrared light than typically found in ordinary (unconcentrated) global sunlight. At mainland US latitudes, this metric <em>R</em><sub>E891BN</sub> can underestimate the annual peak solar heat gain of a typical roof or pavement (slope ⩽ 5:12 [23°]) by as much as 89 W m<sup>−2</sup>, and underestimate its peak surface temperature by up to 5 K. Using <em>R</em><sub>E891BN</sub> to characterize roofs in a building energy simulation can exaggerate the economic value <em>N</em> of annual cool roof net energy savings by as much as 23%.</p><p>We define clear sky air mass one global horizontal (“AM1GH”) solar reflectance <em>R</em><sub>g,0</sub>, a simple and easily measured property that more accurately predicts solar heat gain. <em>R</em><sub>g,0</sub> predicts the annual peak solar heat gain of a roof or pavement to within 2 W m<sup>−2</sup>, and overestimates <em>N</em> by no more than 3%. <em>R</em><sub>g,0</sub> is well suited to rating the solar reflectances of roofs, pavements and walls. We show in Part II that <em>R</em><sub>g,0</sub> can be easily and accurately measured with a pyranometer, a solar spectrophotometer or version 6 of the Solar Spectrum Reflectometer.</p>


Solar Energy



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