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Experimental study of the thermal performance of an extensive green roof on sunny summer days

Tang, Mingfang, Zheng, Xing
Applied energy 2019 v.242 pp. 1010-1021
air conditioning, air temperature, climatic factors, green roofs, heat tolerance, heat transfer, planting, soil, summer, thermal properties
Green roofs have shown a remarkable effect on the reduction of the building cooling load in summer. The assessment of the thermal performance of green roofs is essential for their design and evaluation. This study investigated the thermal characteristics of an extensive green roof under air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned states by using experimental data obtained on successive sunny summer days. Two indices of the green roof, namely the equivalent thermal resistance and the equivalent decrement factor, were estimated through comparison with a common bare roof. Under the non-air-conditioned state, the distribution of the average temperature on the green roof profile was S-sharp. The lowest average temperature of the green roof was observed on the interface between the planting soil and roof structure, which were 1.8 and 0.9 °C below the outdoor and indoor air temperature, respectively. This finding indicated that the bottom of the soil layer functioned as a “cooling source” that absorbed heat from the upside and downside. The indoor critical air temperature that maintains the heat flux equal to zero was investigated on the basis of the experimental data. The influence of indoor critical air temperature on the equivalent thermal resistance was discussed; for the same green roof under the same outdoor climatic conditions, an indoor air temperature that is closer to the indoor critical air temperature yields a higher equivalent thermal resistance. Therefore, the equivalent thermal resistance of the green roof obtained under low indoor air temperature is recommended for practical use.