Q&A to Energy Star, the Cool Roof Rating Council (CCRC) and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Programs
Q. What are the requirements of the programs with regard to roof product performance?
A. First a point of clarification: the LEED program is a building environment program sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The LEED program uses a credit or point system to establish an overall building performance. Although LEED establishes performance criteria, it does not qualify products or companies. It uses known standards and other qualification programs to provide the necessary data for qualification. With respect to roofing products, LEED uses the Energy Star program as the qualification for environment credits. LEED will accept data from CRRC, however it is still necessary to meet the threshold requirements of Energy Star to earn LEED credits. That said, in most cases for roofing, LEED will have the same requirements as Energy Star.
Both the Energy Star program and LEED program specifically spell out that the minimum solar reflectance must be 65% initially and 50% after three years of in-field aging.
LEED differs from Energy Star in that it also requires data concerning the thermal emittance of the product. The LEED program requires that in order to achieve a credit the product must have a minimum emissivity of 0.9.
CRRC provides certified measurements of reflectivity and emissivity. CRRC does not specify a performance requirement; it simply provides a method for testing and a common means of labeling regarding the results. Ultimately, it leaves the decision of “pass/fail” in the hands of the specifying agency or end-user.
Q. Who can perform the testing for Energy Star, CRRC, or LEED qualification?
A. In the case of Energy Star, any qualified laboratory can determine the solar reflectance required by the program. The laboratory does not need to be independent of the material manufacturer; therefore both third party and manufacturer laboratories can be used to provide data to the EPA.
CRRC conversely requires that the laboratory conducting the measurement be accredited. Either the lab must be listed as an Accredited Independent Testing Laboratory (AITL) by the CRRC or it must be an Accredited Manufacturers Testing Laboratory (AMTL) to perform the determine reflectivity and emissivity. Both the AITL and the AMTL must meet the requirements of the CRRC, which includes ISO certification of the lab, as well as the additional required CRRC training.
Q. Can accelerated aging be used in lieu of on-site in-field or test farm aging?
A. For both the CRRC and Energy Star (and by relation LEED) the answer is “No.” Although accelerated aging by either the Xenon Arc or UV/Condensation methods can prove to be invaluable in developing roofing products and predicting in-field performance; to date neither entity accepts accelerated aging data.
Energy Star requires that three-year data be provided from three separate roof installations of the product to be qualified. One of the roof systems must be in a metropolitan area. It is also acceptable to use test farm installations of the roofing product to satisfy the demands of Energy Star.
The CRRC uses strictly test farm data to establish three-year performance of the roofing products. CRRC will soon finalize the requirements for being approved as a test farm location. Only CRRC-approved test farms can be used to yield acceptable data. The CRRC also requires that the product data be taken from three test farms specified by the CRRC in distinct geographic locations and conditions.
Q. Are there any fees associated with obtaining accreditation?
A. With respect to Energy Star, there are no fees for having products listed as being Energy Star compliant. Therefore, by proxy there is no fee for evaluation of roofing products with respect to LEED. However, associated fees may be required for obtaining recognition of the complete facility construction through the LEED program.
CRRC does have a fee structure, which is based upon the volume of all roofing products manufactured or applied by the licensee. There is also a label fee that is charged for each product type. The label fee is broken down into two categories; one that relates to frequently produced products and one that relates to custom colors (more applicable for metal applications).
Q. Can the aged products be cleaned before testing?
A. On the topic of cleaning, the programs certainly are diverse. Energy Star allows the product to be cleaned (per the manufacturer’s recommendation) prior to establishing three-year aged reflectance values. CRRC does not allow any type of cleaning prior to analysis. This will create discrepancies between the three-year CRRC and Energy Star data. It is important for customers and end-users to keep this in mind when comparing performance results between two products. It is important to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Note that the LEED program will then be accepting cleaned, three-year aged roofs.
For more information on the Cool Roof Rating Council (CCRC), click here.
For more information on Energy Star ratings, click here.
For more information the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Program, click here.