Secondary Author(s)

Sonne, Jeffrey; Sherwin, John

Report Number




Buildings; Roofs


A series of tests were conducted in seven retail shops in a strip mall in Cocoa, Florida to examine how roof whitening would impact air conditioning load. The roof of the strip mall was conventional: unsurfaced galvanized corrugated metal with R-11 insulation suspended by purlins underneath. Below the insulation was the roof plenum which contained both the air handler and duct air distribution system. Cooling was accomplished in each shop by a dedicated direct expansion air conditioning (AC) system between 3 and 4 tons in size. Each had its air conditioning metered for half of the summer in a baseline condition. Building temperatures as well as meteorological conditions were also obtained on a 15-minute basis. The roof was then resurfaced white at mid-summer using a commercially available roof coating product. The measured roof surface reflectivity was altered from approximately 29% to 75%. The tests were phased over a two summer period so that the impact of surface degradation could be measured in the second year of exposure.(1)

The results for both phases of the project, showed a 25.3% average reduction (8.6 kWh) in summer space cooling energy (34.1 kWh/day to 25.5 kWh/day) in the seven shops with a range of savings of 13 - 48%. The percentage savings varied with the temperature maintained in the shops; those maintaining the lowest interior temperatures saved the least on a percentage basis, although the absolute space cooling energy reductions were more similar ranging from 6.4 to 13.4 kWh/day. Total annual air conditioning in the seven monitored shops averaged 6,780 kWh; estimated savings averaged 1,670 kWh. Impacts on space heating were not measured.

Date Published



Parker, D., Sonne, J., Sherwin, J., "Demonstration of Cooling Savings of Light Colored Roof Surfacing in Florida Commercial Buildings: Retail Strip Mall," Final Report, October, 1997

Local Subjects

Buildings - Roofs


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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