In the thermal design of low sloped roofing assemblies, two parameters are overlooked, one is the surface temperature of the roof assemblies which provides the required temperature gradient for heat flow, and the other is the mean operating temperature of the roof assembly,
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In the thermal design of low sloped roofing assemblies, two parameters are overlooked, one is the surface temperature of the roof assemblies which provides the required temperature gradient for heat flow, and the other is the mean operating temperature of the roof assembly, which has direct implications on the thermal performance of the insulation. An in situ field study was conducted in collaboration with Alberta Roofing Contractors Association (ARCA) on their headquarters building located in Calgary, to generate data on the mean operating temperature of the roof assemblies and to determine whether the thermal design of roofing assemblies using conventional methods is an accurate portrayal of in-service thermal performance. For the present study, two roof assemblies insulated with polyisocyanurate insulation, one with a white reflective roof membrane and the other with the black membrane were selected and instrumented. During the monitoring period, the mean operating temperature (MOT) of the roof assembly whether it is calculated as the average of interior and exterior ambient (MOTAIR
,) or the average of surface temperatures (MOTSurface
), was found to be below 24 °C (75 °F), which opposes the current roof thermal designs that are being designed using label R-value (thermal resistance) of the insulation reported at the mean temperature of 24 °C (75 °F) rather than temperature-dependent thermal resistance. The comparison of two energy transfer theoretical models, QConvention
, with the measured data indicated that the conventional approach of roof thermal design underestimates the energy performance of the roof assembly on average by 30%. The use of roof surface temperatures and the corresponding temperature-dependent thermal resistance of the insulation as in QMOT
has been demonstrated to improve predictions of the energy performance. In addition the loss in thermal resistance due to blowing agent diffusion in polyisocyanurate was evaluated after two years of in situ installation.