First Advisor

David Sailor

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Materials Engineering




Roofing -- Design and construction -- Environmental aspects, Green roofs (Gardening) -- Environmental aspects, Urban heat island -- Environmental aspects, Green roofs (Gardening)-- Design and construction



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 73 p.) : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.)


This study presents the results of a modeling effort to explore the role that sustainable roofing technologies play in impacting the rooftop energy balance, and the resultant net sensible heat flux into the urban atmosphere with a focus on the summertime urban heat island. The model has been validated using data from a field experiment. Roofing technologies explored include control dark membrane roof, a highly reflective (cool) roof, a vegetated green roof, and photovoltaic panels elevated above various base roofs. Energy balance models were developed, validated with experimental measurements, and then used to estimate sensible fluxes in cities located in six climate zones across the US. To evaluate the impact on urban air temperatures, a mesoscale meteorological model was used. Sensible flux profiles calculated using a surface energy balance were used as inputs to the mesoscale model. Results for a 2-day period in Portland, OR are analyzed. Average findings indicate that the black roof and black roof with PV have the highest peak daily sensible flux to the environment, ranging from 331 to 405 W/m2. The addition of PV panels to a black roof had a negligible effect on the peak flux, but decreased the total flux by an average of 11%. Replacing a black roof with a white or green roof resulted in a substantial decrease in the total sensible flux. Results indicate that if a black membrane roof is replaced by a PV covered white or a PV covered green roof the corresponding reduction in total sensible flux is on the order of 50%. Mesoscale modeling results indicate peak daytime temperature reduction of approximately 1°C for both white and green roofs. However, there is a nighttime penalty on the order of 0.75°C for the green roof case, which has been attributed to the additional thermal storage of a green roof. Findings also reveal that the addition of PV panels to a roof has a nighttime cooling effect. This is most pronounced on a white roof, with magnitudes of 1°C. The methodology developed for this analysis provides a foundation for evaluating the relative impacts of roof design choices on the urban climate and should prove useful in guiding urban heat island mitigation efforts.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Persistent Identifier