'Cool' Paint Sytems: Saving Energy and Money in Self-Storage
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
By: Wes Brooker
Posted on: 10/29/2009



 

Wall and roof panels coated with “cool” Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) paint systems, often referred to as Kynar or Hylar, are now available for self-storage buildings. These panels feature vivid, fade-resistant color, incredible durability, and environmentally friendly technology that was originally developed for stealth aircraft in the U.S. military.

The energy-cost savings, architectural appeal, variety of profiles, texture and color, flexibility, and long-term durability make PVDF panels a popular choice for architects and building owners.  
 
What’s Cool?

Cool isn’t just a meaningless marketing term. It’s a technology that could revolutionize the building industry. Combating urban heat islands and high-energy consumption requires innovative products that meet or exceed even the most stringent industry requirements.

To be considered cool, products must have a solar reflectance of at least 25 percent. Solar reflectance is the measure of a panel’s ability to not absorb certain wavelengths of the sun. Another important factor is thermal emittance, the measure of a panel’s ability to release the heat it absorbs. Put these two factors together, and you get the solar reflective index (SRI), which is the measure of a panel’s ability to reject solar heat.

Metal roofs coated with PVDF-based resin can achieve solar reflectance of more than 25 percent and reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent as part of a total system design, as reported by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

But cool technology is only one benefit of these types of panels. Durability is another. PVDF-based coatings are the most durable, UV-resistant, and chemically and environmentally resistant coatings available in the market for use on commercial and industrial buildings. The carbon-fluorine chemical bond in PVDF is photo-chemically stable (resistant to sunlight’s UV rays) and inert against acids, bases and chemical attack.
 
How it Works

During the coil-coating curing process, the PVDF powder melts and “fuses” to become a continuous high-density network, with very high-tensile strength and flexibility. Additionally, the PVDF “alloys” with the acrylic polymer matrix (an interpenetrating polymer network). PVDF resin chemistry is transparent to the UV light that breaks down other coating systems.

Whereas non-cool materials absorb a majority of the sun’s rays and generate heat, cool resins reflect them, keeping the paint coating itself cooler. This technology not only maximizes the life of the panels, it can ultimately lead to lower cooling costs.

Such superior performance and the wide range of color choices are the reasons PVDF metal coatings provide billions of square feet of protection against weathering, aging and pollution on commercial, industrial, institutional and residential buildings around the globe. The Louvre Museum, world-famous theme parks and Las Vegas casinos count on PVDF when long-lasting color plays an important part in their visitors’ experiences.
 
Case Study

Two schools of the exact same size and design were constructed similarly and have the same HVAC equipment, with thermostats controlled at the same place. However, one school was able to save more than $10,000 on its annual cooling costs. How?

The difference lies in the coatings of the schools’ roof systems. Baggett Elementary and Poole Elementary in Dallas, Ga., are near identical, right down to their forest green roof panels. The only difference is the panels at Baggett are standard PVDF, with a total solar reflectance value (TSR) of 12 percent. Poole, in contrast, has infrared-resistant PVDF pigments with a TSR value of 29 percent.

This led to vastly different results.Poole’s annual net savings is more than $10,000 because of an added TSR of 17 percent, which equates to a projected savings of $350,000 during the school’s 35-year expected lifecycle. These savings were confirmed in a thorough study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In addition, the added TSR didn’t jeopardize the school’s ability to meet district appearance requirements.
Why Use Cool?

Self-storage owners using a PVDF coating rather than a bare galvanized finish on climate-controlled facilities can achieve savings of 50 percent or more on cooling costs. Here are some more advantages:

  • Considered the most energy-efficient coating system on the market
  • Reflects more of the sun’s rays to produce cooler indoor temperatures
  • Meets many Energy Star requirements
  • Can add to facility aesthetics  
  • Generates lower environmental temperatures to help reduce smog
  • 100 percent recyclable
  • Increases fire-resistance
  • Complements other building products such as stucco or concrete
  • Maintains gloss and color
  • Comes in exceptional colors that stay true for years to come

When building or remodeling your self-storage facility, consider cool panels to reduce energy costs and save money.
 
Wes Brooker is the marketing development manager for American Buildings Co., a Eufaula, Ala., manufacturer of custom-engineered steel-building systems. The company produces metal roof and wall systems, components and accessories for the low-rise, non-residential, metal-building industry. For more information, call 888.307.4338; visit www.americanbuildings.com.

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