EPDM Roofing Association: Analysis of Berkeley Labs Study Details Flawed Science
Panel of Roofing Experts Questions Methodology, Sample Size of Twenty-Two Roofs
The EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) is challenging a study released by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which cites white roofs as the most “cost-effective” roofing option over a 50-year time span. The study, published in the March, 2014, issue of Energy and Buildings, also calls for the phasing out of black roofs. “Our members make both black and white roofing membranes. We strongly oppose any recommendation that irresponsibly promotes the use of one of our products over another based on faulty science. We question the validity of this study since it is based on a sample size of only 22 roofs, and we are challenging the conclusions that the authors draw from the data,” said Ellen Thorp, Associate Executive Director of ERA. “Due to the complexity of roof and building science, prescriptive requirements that limit design choices are not in the best interests of architects, design professionals, or building owners.”
To help provide clarity regarding roofing system choice, and to refute some of the more egregious errors in the study, ERA convened a panel of experts to review the LBNL science and its conclusions. A summary of these findings follows; a complete analysis can be found on the ERA website at www.epdmroofs.org. Overall, the panel found that the LBNL study was marked by “a systematic failure to understand that roofs are systems, not a single component,” said Tom Hutchinson, principal of the Hutchinson Design Group and an internationally recognized expert on roof system design. “Additionally, the study completely ignored ballasted EPDM systems that, in other studies, have proven to be the roof system that provides the greatest service life and energy savings. To suggest that a comparatively ‘new’ roofing material will have a longer service life than EPDM, a material proven to last over 30 years, is na´ve,” continued Hutchinson.
The EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) is the first trade association solely representing the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers. ERA provides technical and research support to the public and the construction industry, and communicates the longstanding attributes, consistency and the value proposition of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer ) rubber membrane roofing materials. (2/13/2014)
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