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OSTI’s Cool Roof

by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon 10 Nov, 2010 in Technology
OSTI’s Cool Roof


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...

Related Topics: carbon emissions, cool roof, energy efficiency