Project Details

Project Name

Coolest Block Contest & RCMA Volunteer Project

Project Location

Philadelphia, PA

Completion Date

2010 + 2018

Involved Parties

City of Philadelphia

DOW Chemical

Acrymax Systems

ARS-3-A20

Philadelphia, PA, is fighting off the heat in its own unique way with sustainable, innovative roofing systems. Combined with Acrymax’s expertise, the city has taken its commitment to green roofing and created remarkable transformations within its local communities.This project highlights two pilot-scale projects – the first in 2010 and the other in 2018. Acrymax played a pivotal role in this urban sustainability effort with our acrylic roof coatings.

The Challenge

Urban areas like Philadelphia experience the heat island effect, where buildings and paved surfaces absorb and retain the sun’s heat more than greener landscapes. Thus, cities tend to have higher temperatures than more rural areas. This not only contributes to general discomfort, it also leads to increased residential energy use for cooling. Recognizing this as a legitimate problem for residents, Philadelphia mandated cool roof standards for new constructions. The “Coolest Block Contest” and subsequent RCMA Volunteer Project aimed to retrofit existing structures with cool, reflective roof coatings to help with the heat island effect.

The Solution

This project only came into being thanks to the combined “greening” efforts from the City of Philadelphia, the Energy Coordinating Agency, the DOW Chemical, and Greenworks Philadelphia, all of which came together to form “Retrofit Philly”. Acrymax’s choice to get involved was a critical turning point for the challenges this goal presented. Acrymax not only has our products rated through the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), but we are a sustaining member of the CRRC as well. Acrymax is also a proud partner of RCMA, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association. 

Acrymax coatings were chosen for their high solar reflectance and their ability to retain those qualities even after aging in a city environment like Philadelphia. Thanks to the ARS-3-A20 acrylic roof system, the 1200 block of Wolf Street was transformed in 2010. 

This particular system was selected for its exceptional ability to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption, both of which were significant considerations for the project. The coating is known for its long-lasting capabilities, showing similar levels of solar reflectance and thermal emittance even 3 years after application! This ability to resist dirt and discoloration is a key aspect of ensuring long-term performance in urban heat island mitigation. The success of this initiative led to a similar project on West Seltzer Street in 2018 under the EnergyFit Philly program.

Acrymax is also a proud partner of RCMA – RCMA | Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association

The Results

Implementing Acrymax’s acrylic roof systems and reflective roof coatings across these projects led to some outstanding results. The coated roofs showed a remarkable ability to reflect sunlight and as a result, reduced the heat absorption of the buildings. This not only led to cooler, more comfortable indoor temperatures overall but also to reduced energy consumption for air conditioning, aligning with Philadelphia’s vision of becoming “the Greenest City in America.” 

In the summer of 2010, following a competition among approximately 100 communities, the original 1200 block of Wolf Street was deemed the “Coolest” block in the city. As the winner, Wolf Street received a variety of home energy improvements – of which the reflective roof coatings were a key component. 

Conclusion

The successful implementation of the “Coolest Block Contest” and the resulting energy savings in Philadelphia underscores a critical component of construction projects. In an ever-warming world, taking into account both the comfort and energy usage of residents is imperative, especially for combating these urban heat islands. Cool roof coatings, such as those from Acrymax, can be one more tool to reduce energy consumption, improve urban sustainability, and the betterment of community well-being.   

As cities continue to look for solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the city of Philadelphia is leading the charge, clearing the path to a cooler, greener future. By looking for forward-thinking, innovative ideas and working with expert companies like Acrymax, more cities and urban areas can make strides toward their sustainability goals, making cities greener, more livable environments for everyone.

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