Passive cooling systems for cement-based roofs Academic Article uri icon


  • In warmer climates, buildings made of cement-based materials often exhibit unfavorable thermal characteristics including higher interior temperature, especially in the absence of an active cooling mechanical system. The purpose of this research project was to investigate the thermal effects of newly designed passive cooling systems on concrete roofs in existing buildings. Each tested passive cooling system consists of a combination of materials that can reduce net heat load in buildings. Commercially available materials such as aluminum 1100 and galvanized steel were used as radiation reflectors; and polyurethane, polystyrene, polyethylene, and an air gap were used as insulation. Experimental results based on laboratory-scale prototypes show that the radiation reflector shape as well as the material selection of each passive cooling system led to reductions in heat conduction between 65 and 88% when compared to a control prototype. Each passive cooling system showed a slow thermal time response when compared to a plain concrete roof, which is a desirable characteristic for controlling thermal fluctuations when heat conduction is also reduced simultaneously. Transient empirical models to predict accurately the midpoint temperature of a cement roof were formulated with and without passive cooling systems in use. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Alvarado, J. L., Terrell, W. J., & Johnson, M. D.

citation count

  • 60

complete list of authors

  • Alvarado, Jorge L||Terrell, Wilson Jr||Johnson, Michael D

publication date

  • September 2009