Cool roofs with high solar reflectance for the welfare of dairy farming animals

Authors: G Santunione, A Libbra and A Muscio

Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd

Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Volume 796, Number 1

Ensuring livestock welfare in dairy farming promotes the production capacity of the animals in terms of both quantity and quality. In welfare conditions, the animals can produce at their full potential. For the dairy cattle the most debilitating period of the year is summer, when the stress arising from overheating induces physiological alterations that compromise the animals' productivity. In this study, the summer discomfort of dairy animals is primarily quantified and the production loss is quantified versus the Temperature Humidity Index (THI), which correlates the values of temperature and relative humidity to the thermal stress. In order to reduce or eliminate such thermal stress, it is then proposed to coat the roof of the stables with a paint having high solar reflectance and thermal emittance, that is a cool roof product. This type of roofing solution can considerably limit the overheating of stables caused by solar radiation, thus providing a positive impact on the animals' welfare and improving significantly their productivity in summer.

Photo: Thermal image (left) and visible picture (right) acquired in summer of 2013 on a pig shelter roof in the province of Modena, Northern Italy: the roof on the left side, uncoated, has surface temperature in excess of 60°C, while the roof right side, which was coated by a white cool roof paint, remains at a temperature around 30°C. (credits: G Santunione, A Libbra and A Muscio)

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