The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) on Wednesday announced that its Cool Surfaces Project has moved from collaboration to a completed, scaled-up project in Groblershoop, in the Northern Cape.
Reflective roof coatings have reduced the indoor daytime temperatures at a low-cost housing project, in Groblershoop, from above 34 °C to a more comfortable 25 °C, said Sanedi Energy Efficiency, Cool Surfaces and Communications project manager Denise Lundall.
The Cool Surfaces Project began as a collaboration between the South African and US departments of Energy. The project is the response to South Africa’s need for a quality energy-passive, low-cost, low-maintenance cooling technology that is fire retardant and waterproof.
“Cool Surfaces refers to energy-passive materials and technologies used in the construction of the building envelope that improve thermal comfort,” said Lundall.
“The idea is to make buildings as nonpolluting and energy-efficient as possible. A cool roof substantially reduces the cooling load of the building, providing several direct benefits to the building owner and occupants. A cool roof can reduce cooling energy costs by about 7% to 15%.
“There are many materials available, but our current focus is on the Cool Coatings applied to roofs and walls. Surfaces that reflect much of the solar energy and release much of the stored heat energy can materially improve living conditions,” she added.
Cool surfaces are measured by how much light they reflect (solar reflectance) and how long they hold heat (thermal emittance).
The cool roof concept is also not restricted to roofs alone. In the US, this technology has been extended to surfaces such as pavements.
Increasing the solar reflectance of urban surfaces results in reflecting and dispersing more of the incoming global solar radiation, which aids in countering global warming by disrupting the urban heat island effect over human settlements.
“At Sanedi, we are committed to climate adaptation and mitigation using a mix of renewable energy sources and research using current energy technologies efficiently.
“In the roll-out of this project, Sanedi collaborates with other government departments to leverage funding. Two Sanedi programmes – Energy Efficiency Programme and Working for Energy – have collaborated to implement Cool Surfaces in a number of demonstration projects.”
Sanedi plans to eventually roll out a scaled-up project in each of South Africa’s provinces, said Lundall.