Energy Efficient Color Technology: Measuring Roofing Granules for Solar Reflectance

Roofing comes in many various materials and colors. Depending on your preference or the esthetic style of your home or neighborhood, these attributes can vary greatly. Many standard homes utilize granule-based composition roofing for its efficiency, durability, and cost effectiveness. New developments in color technology offer an expanded variety of shades and hues with the added benefit of improved efficiency. These new materials use color technology to improve the reflectance value of composition roofing and the various coatings applied to this material and help save on energy costs overall.

roof variety color technology
Roofing comes in a variety of materials and colors, but this rainbow of choices is not only for esthetic appeal, but can also provide energy saving benefits as well.
Image Source: Flickr user Ignorant Walking

Color technology in roofing materials continues to develop as energy saving benefits are revealed. New studies conducted by research scientists at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (Berkley Lab) Environmental Energies Technology Division (EETD) use color technology to produce roofing materials that maintain cooler temperatures consistently. Traditionally, commercial buildings use a white or lighter-coating material in their flat-roof designs to increase solar reflectance. Color technology has proven that these lighter shades reflect more of the sun’s energy, keeping surface temperatures down and lowering energy costs.

However, these lighter shades are not always desired by the average homeowner or may not even be an option based on the overall color scheme of a typical residential area. Therefore, building material engineers are working together using color to design materials and coatings in granule-based composition roofing shingles. This technology utilizes spectrophotometers to measure light reflectance values as well as maintaining color consistency in these materials.

Measuring solar reflectance in roofing materials

Solar reflectance measurement can easily be achieved using color technology and light reflectance values. Spectrophotometers easily and effectively measure these attributes and quantify the data to provide information on the heating and color properties of granule-base roofing shingles. Using sphere-based spectrophotometric technology, various angles of measurement can be obtained, and this data provides the most comprehensive tool for quantification of these values.

Energy efficiency is the future of building products and materials, and engineering teams depended on solar reflectance measurements to develop new products and coatings that are most suitable for this purpose. In order to maintain the same deep color tones that consumers’ demand in roofing products, these new materials must depend on mineral based coatings with high levels of infrared-reflective pigments. Through advanced color technology, these pigments can also add color value to the roofing materials and further develop the deeper shades and hues of these products.

composition roof color technology
Darker colored roofing shingles are in high demand for residential housing. The new technology improves infrared-reflectance while still maintaining the desired hues and shade that consumers demand.
Image Source: Flickr user hobvias sudoneighm

Applications of spectrophotometers in granule-based roofing materials

Producing superior composition roofing material is an extensive and complex process. It begins with quality base products, typically rock-based materials that are crushed and sorted according to particle size and color. Spectrophotometers are required to sort materials based on both color and composition to create consistent and congruent colors. The human eye alone cannot differentiate slight differences in colors, and variations often occur based on perception differences between evaluators.

slate color technology
Superior granule-based shingles begin with quality raw materials. Spectrophotometers are used to monitor color from the beginning to the end of the production process.
Image Source: Flickr user Seldom Scene Photography

New advancements in color technology have made the use of spectral measurement a common tool for various scientific and industrial applications. Today’s spectrophotometers are designed to be durable enough to be portable; they are also designed for ease of use. For roofing materials, this instrumentation offers the perfect marriage of both scientific technology and quality control. Using advanced color measurement instrumentation allows for higher quality design in energy efficient roofing products and materials. This one piece of equipment performs a variety of color technology needs for granule-based roofing development and production. From raw materials to advanced coatings and solar reflective design elements, the versatility of this instrumentation is unsurpassed.

Advanced color measurement instrumentation

Color technology and measurement instrumentation has undergone many advances over the past decade. More and more uses are being discovered all the time, providing safer and more reliable methods of evaluation for many scientific and industrial applications. At HunterLab, we specialize in color measurement technology and design our products to meet the ever-changing developments of modern industry. As new advancements in technology evolve, we continue to strive to meet the challenges these changes present. Our unique sphere-based color technology can be adapted to many various applications, and our knowledge of the building material industry has helped us gear our products to meet these needs. For more information on solar reflectance values and the value of spectrophotometers in roofing granule measurement, contact HunterLab today.

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