Southface Refresh: GAF Spotlight

Gray Vickery contributed to this article.

The Southface Resource Center was the first recipient of the ENERGY STAR® rating for homes in the Southeast. Since its ribbon-cutting during the 1996 Olympic Games, however, it has undergone a number of retrofits to keep pace with Southface’s growth as an organization. About half of the Southface staff members work in the Resource Center, including the Policy, Community Sustainability Services and Residential Sustainability Services teams. The Resource Center also houses administrative functions such as accounting, communications, development and events.

During a recent storm, the roof of the building suffered damage. Since the warranty on the original shingles was due to expire, we took advantage of the opportunity to explore the latest technologies in residential roofing materials.

GAF generously donated an ENERGY STAR rated roof that utilizes highly reflective shingles, and All Roof Solutions agreed to donate labor for the installation. The GAF Timberline Cool Series shingles are designed to mitigate heat absorption and reduce overall thermal gain within the house. Simply put, lower attic temperature translates to lower air conditioning use and an overall reduction in energy consumption. The technology relies on roofing granules that reflect UV radiation. With this technology, the Cool Series Shingles achieve an impressive Solar Reflectance Index of 29 whereas conventional shingles are less than 20. drying in and shingling_11_resize

In addition to reducing energy costs, highly reflective roofs offer another environmental benefit. Dark surfaces in urban environments absorb and trap heat, raising ambient air temperatures. Eventually a microclimate of increased temperature develops within the area. This process, known as the urban heat island effect, can be drastically reduced by simply replacing dark surfaces with lighter ones. Southface further reduces its impact on the urban heat island through the Eco Office green roof and the highly reflective, porous concrete sidewalks that encircle the campus.

“It’s a great pleasure and honor to work with Southface on this project and we commend them for their many years of building science leadership,” stated Marty Grohman, director of sustainability at GAF.

Learn more about the GAF Timberline Cool Series and other GAF products.

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