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Rising oil, natural gas and electricity prices have resulted in shrinking margins and lower benefits for many of the building users all over the world. On the other hand, environmental issues such as global warming, urban heat island, cities pollution, and sustainable construction are in the first front of the interest between organisations, individuals and institutional or scientific forums. Cool roof technology is one sector that could contribute to the mitigation of heat island phenomenon, the reduction of urban air pollution, the increase of roofs durability and ultimately to increase the thermal comfort conditions for the building users, combining at the same time, energy savings.
In sprite of the fact that, from the one side, coatings are a well known practice for the decoration and the protection of building envelope and, from the other side, roof products is a wide market in EU level with high level of competition, though there is a great lack of awareness considering the benefits from the existence of cool coatings technology.
The European paints, printing ink and artists' colours industry produced approximately 6.5 million tonnes of material in 2005 (EU-15 plus Switzerland and Norway). The global paints and coatings market grew by 5.7% in 2006 to reach a value of $71.7 billion. Decorative paints and coatings form the most lucrative segment of the global paints and coatings market, accounting for 45.9% of the market's value (CEPE 2005).
The European roofing trade comprises approximately 160.000 SMEs, with approximately 1 million employees. Taking into account an average turnover of 40.000 Euros per person in hours and materials, the total turnover of the roofer trade is 40 Billion Euros.
Features of actual cool roof market in Europe Cool roof technology is laid out into European market as a very new market and as a result there is no company that could be characterised as a market leader. At the moment, actually there are only 4 to 5 European companies, which are involved with the production of cool coatings for roof applications or with the production and/or distribution of selective raw materials, which can be applied in cool roof applications. On another side of view, although cool roof technology development first took place in the early of 1990 in USA, we cannot either say, that in the field of cool technology basic key players are companies outside of Europe and in particular from USA, who could be active in European level through local-national distributors.
Facts examples that impact the future of cool market trends
The rapid urbanization of the world's population over the twentieth century is described in the 2005 Revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects report. The global proportion of urban population rose dramatically from 13% (220 million) in 1900, to 29% (732 million) in 1950, to 49% (3.2 billion) in 2005. The same report projected that the figure is likely to rise to 60% (4.9 billion) by 2030.
According to the UN-HABITAT 2006 Annual Report, sometime in the middle of 2007, the majority of people worldwide will be living in towns or cities, for the first time in history; this is referred as the arrival of the "Urban Millennium"
A recent analysis showed that a 1% increase in urban population, the energy consumption increases by 2,2%.(M. Santamouris "Energy and Climate in the Urban Environment", James and James, London, 2001.)
Buildings are at the core of the European Union's prosperity. They are important to achieve EU's energy savings targets and to combat climate change, whilst contributing to energy security. An enormous unrealised savings potential lies dormant in buildings. The recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC) will activate this, also boosting sustainable investments and job creation, often in SMEs, across Europe. More energy efficient buildings provide better living conditions and save money to all citizens. The estimated impact of the recast is energy savings of 60-80 Mtoe in 2020 or the total EU energy consumption will be reduced by 5-6%. EU-Commission Brussels, 13 November 2008.
Elevated summertime temperatures in cities increase energy demand for cooling. Researches show that electricity demand for cooling increases 1.5-2.0% for every 1°F (0.6°C) increase in air temperatures, starting from 68 to 77°F (20 to 25°C), suggesting that 5-10% of community-wide demand for electricity is used to compensate for the heat island effect.
Perspectives of cool roof market.
Cool roof applying technologies seem to be one of the hotest issues in Europe's roof market of tomorrow, trend that is forced through the environmental policies for energy savings and CO2 reduction in international level, the sufficient contribution of cool roof technology in the mitigation of heat island phenomenon and his synergies, the possible expansion of the ENERGY STAR programme agreement between EU and USA, also to other range of products beyond office equipment and for last, but not least, for the low economic impact of this new technology in roofing and urban construction or restoration, in End users income.