The Office of Science occupies many buildings around the country, but it owns only two of them. One of them is making some news. The 134,629 sq. ft. (about 3 acres) roof of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) building in Oak Ridge, Tennessee is now officially a Cool Roof, that is, it’s energy efficient in ways that darker roofs are not. Cool roofs are light in color, so reflect rather than absorb sunlight. Oak Ridge gets lots of sunlight. The previous roof was black, but worse, it was leaky and those leaks, controlled for years in some very innovative ways by the OSTI staff, were going to cause significant problems if not addressed. OSTI needed to invest in a new roof to ensure employee safety, protect the structural integrity of the largest federal office building managed by the Office of Science and safeguard its databases and historical collection of scientific and technical information documents, some of which date back to the Manhattan Project and which exist nowhere else.
[Detail of OSTI's "before" roof]
OSTI's re-roofing project began before the President issued his Executive Order directing the federal government to set a good example for the nation on sustainability. In July, Secretary Chu, a longtime proponent of cool roofs, announced that DOE would more broadly implement cool roof technologies on DOE facilities. He noted that "cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions and begin the hard work of slowing climate change. By demonstrating the benefits of cool roofs on our facilities, the federal government can lead the nation toward more sustainable building practices, while reducing the federal carbon footprint and saving money for taxpayers."
OSTI gladly decided to install a cool roof: a roofing system that can deliver solar reflectance (...Read more...