The Benefits of Cool Roof Coatings

It’s hard to remember a time when most people weren’t thinking about saving energy. In addition to unpredictable price spikes driven by geopolitics and natural disasters, we’re now far more aware of the effects of energy production and consumption on the environment. If you’re the owner or manager of a commercial or industrial building, you have good reasons to spend a lot of time thinking about this subject. 

Cool roof coatings address multiple energy-related concerns. By reflecting sunlight, they reduce the amount of heat absorbed by traditional roofing materials. By doing so, they not only save you money but also reduce the amount of energy that has to be generated in your area and, indirectly, related emissions. Here’s a brief discussion of the benefits that roof coatings can provide to you, your community, and the planet.

Energy efficiency: The refractive qualities of cool roof coatings begin with their color, white, at the opposite end of the spectrum from virtually all traditional roofing materials. As the sun’s rays strike the coating, a substantial percentage of the solar energy is reflected away rather than absorbed by the building. Instead of being transferred through the roof to the air inside the building, the majority of the heat never enters in the first place. The result is reduced need for air conditioning, longer life for your HVAC system, and lower power bills.

In a multistory building, disparities between warmer floors closer to the roof and relatively cooler floors below will be reduced, further reducing strain on air circulation systems. Coatings also reduce variations in both temperature over the workday and humidity.

Longer roof life: Coatings protect roofs from debris and many potentially damaging weather conditions. As roofs expand when they’re hot and contract when they’re cold, cracks can develop that allow moisture in, causing further damage. Since roof coatings are elastomeric, they stretch as roofs “swell” and shrink, continuing to protect vulnerable areas and block rainfall. 

Environmental advantages: Unfortunately, many methods of power generation release gases into the atmosphere that contribute to climate change. By reducing energy consumption, roof coatings also reduce these emissions. Research has shown that roof coatings can even help to ameliorate “heat islands,” areas within cities where groups of heat-absorbing buildings and parking lots produce persistently higher temperatures compared to surrounding areas.

Saving money: A cool roof coating represents spending today, but it will repay that investment multiple times over in energy savings. You’ll save even more in the long term by reducing the need for roof maintenance and extending the working life of both your roof and your HVAC system. A roof coating can also help you to obtain sustainable building certifications like Green Star and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the tax advantages that accompany them.

Picture your workplace. The HVAC system is silent, because the interior temperature is already comfortable. You’re at your desk reviewing a report that summarizes all the money you’ve recently saved on power bills and roof maintenance. The comfortable atmosphere has led to increased productivity. Your roof is now expected to last five years longer than you had planned, giving the company more time to set aside the money to replace it. You’ve noticed that the air outside your building is more comfortable; since your neighbors have joined you in purchasing roof coatings, the average temperature has gone down across the whole area.

The argument for investing in a cool roof coating is a strong one even before considering that you’ll be helping the environment by reducing overall demand for electricity. To learn more about the cool roof coating that’s right for your needs, contact Energy Seal today.

Tips for Successfully Installing Liquid Roof Coatings

The basic elements of applying a roof coating may initially sound so simple that explanation seems unnecessary: clean, spray, let it dry. At Energy Seal, we’ve found it’s more complicated than that – the key to success is in the details. In this post we expand on those fundamentals to help you make sure that the coating you choose will protect your roof and your building for years to come.

1. Clean the roof comprehensively with the right equipment.

Most people would say this step is too obvious to even mention, but this process requires a cleaning far beyond what most people associate with that word. The roof should be pressure-washed at a minimum of 1,500 PSI (pounds of force per square inch). This isn’t strong enough to remove stains caused by, for example, oil, but it’s more than enough to remove the kind of grime and random substances that normally accumulate on a roof over time. If those aren’t removed, the roof coating may adhere to them instead of the roof itself.

We at Energy Seal recommend using Acu-Wash, a detergent surfactant, applied with a roto spray tip, followed by a thorough rinse. The roof should be completely dry before the application process begins, which may require as much as 24 hours.

2. Check your local weather report.

Water, whether lingering from the cleaning stage or falling from the sky, can wash a roof coating away before it can adhere. No one can predict the weather perfectly, but you can improve your odds of success by scheduling your coating for a week in which no rain is expected. Manufacturers design coatings to be applied in two layers, each of which needs to set, or cure, thoroughly, for a period of time that varies among products.

In fact, the coating is so sensitive to moisture that we recommend starting the application as early in the day as possible so it has more time to dry before dew settles overnight. It’s also important to consider the humidity level in your area when you’re planning. Where humidity is high and temperatures are relatively low, you may have to wait longer between the two coats.

But temperatures that are too low can also threaten a successful installation. If a coating freezes before it sets, it may fracture into a network of cracks resembling a spider’s web, which, obviously, will not provide effective protection. 

3. Maintain the same thickness across the entire roof.

The first “step” to guarantee a consistent millage, or depth, is walking at a steady pace during the application. The crucial element, though, is frequent pauses to measure the thickness with a wet film gauge. 

To use the product Acu-Shield as an example, the manufacturer specifies that the wet film thickness of each layer should be at least 20 wet mils for each coat and each of the two layers should be allowed to cure for 24 to 48 hours. This is important not only to get the maximum benefits from the coating, but also to keep the product’s warranty in force. 

4. Seal all seams, flashings, and fasteners completely to prevent leaks.

We recommend sealing with a combination of both Acu-Caulk and Acu-Fabric. The result resembles a practically impenetrable bandage. Acu-Tape is useful for sealing flashings and seams.

Energy Seal experts don’t just have the facts about the products we sell – they also have the kind of knowledge that only comes from first-hand experience. Whether your questions are about installing a roof coating yourself or arranging for us to install one for you, we’re here to help.

The Four Roles of Roof Coatings

The Four Roles of Roof Coatings

For years, managers of commercial and industrial buildings opted for roof coatings because they extended the working lives of roofs, both those currently in service and the newly constructed. Over time, a second major advantage became clearer: the dramatic energy savings that a reflective coating could provide. The other two significant advantages offered by roof coating systems are improving safety and reducing adverse environmental effects.

  1. Roof coatings reduce the need for maintenance and lengthen the time that a roof can remain in service in many ways. Coatings minimize damage from heavy rains, hail, snow, and ice. By sealing cracks, coatings can prevent moisture from entering a building, as well as prevent small openings from developing into larger ones.  Employees, equipment, inventory, and the structure itself are thus far less likely to experience water damage from a leak.  
  2. The reflective properties of roof coatings virtually eliminate the long-term effects of exposure to the sun’s heat and light, including wear and tear from temperature-driven expansion and contraction. 

Summer energy bills will fall dramatically as roof coatings reflect a large
percentage of the solar heat that strikes a building. In addition, air conditioners will last longer because they won’t have to work as hard to maintain consistently cool interior temperatures. Owners can save money on new construction by purchasing smaller HVAC units. Finally, tax credits that subsidize cool roof systems are available in some areas.

  1. Roof coatings improve safety by holding materials in place that might otherwise become detached from the main structure of the roof and become hazards. A coated roof will require less maintenance; while regular inspections will obviously still be necessary, in general employees will spend less time on the roof. And a coating can help maintain or improve a building’s fire rating.
  1. The most obvious environmental benefit of coatings is the reduced level of emissions required to generate the electricity needed to cool the building. In densely populated areas, large numbers of dark-colored roofs and parking lots can produce what experts call a “heat island,” in which the average temperature is much higher than it is in surrounding areas. If a neighborhood or municipality offers incentives to encourage installation of roof coatings, all residents will need less energy to cool their living spaces, even those who don’t live in buildings with coatings. Lastly, longer-lasting roofs mean fewer old roofs in landfills, reduced need to manufacture new roofing materials, and less fuel required to transport both.

If you’re a cost-conscious building owner or manager who’s been thinking about a roof coating, consider that the money you’ll save on cooling alone means the system will pay for itself.  You’ll also spend less on maintenance and repairs.  Improved safety and less impact on the environment also provide economic benefits that are less direct and less obvious. For most buildings under most circumstances, a cool roofing system just makes sense.  

The Right Coating for Your Roof Type

The Right Coating for Your Roof Type

Elastomeric roof coatings can be applied to many commercial and industrial roof types, including bitumen, modified bitumen, Built-Up Roof (BUR), cap sheet, concrete, ethylene propylene diene terpolymer membrane (EPDM), Hypalon, metal, PVS, single-ply, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), and transite, as well as newly installed polyurethane foam (PUF) roofs.

One thing is true of all types of roofs and all types of coatings: You’ll know it’s time to apply a coating when the roof shows the earliest signs of aging.  At that point, it’s important to act quickly, because the roof may need cleaning or restoration before the coating can be installed.  Delay may mean you incur the expense of installing an entirely new roof.


The two major categories of elastomeric coatings function similarly, reflecting solar heat and protecting against water damage over years if not decades.  Both are non-toxic and are manufactured according to government rules that regulate the use of volatile organic compounds (“VOC-compliant”).

Both can be applied to multiple roof types, but each was developed for a specific scenario.  Acrylic products are designed for metal roofs with positive pitches. By contrast, silicone coatings are appropriate for any flat roof, regardless of construction material, because water tends to pool on those roofs.


Elasticity refers not only to the capacity of a material to stretch, but also to its ability to resume its original shape afterwards.  Thus, while normally unaffected by temperature changes itself, the coating can change shape as the roof itself expands and contracts.

Tensile strength is the measure of a material’s ability to remain a cohesive whole – in other words, to not break.  Many manufacturers list only the tensile strength of a coating when it’s brand new and being tested under controlled conditions in a laboratory.  This number has limited utility, since tensile strength of some materials starts to decline almost immediately upon exposure to the elements.  An important indicator of a high-quality product and a company that stands behind it is the availability of tensile strength measurements of a coating after it’s been in service for a while.  Comparison will quickly reveal that some coatings retain more tensile strength after months of use than others have straight out of their containers.  This measurement, therefore, should play an important role in your selection of a coating product.

The permeability factor indicates how much water vapor can pass through a substance.  A lower number is desirable, since it represents a higher level of resistance to moisture.

Moisture gain by weight is a related measure, the amount of moisture that is absorbed and retained by a substance, rather than passing through it.  Water that soaks into a coating can have an adverse effect on the coating’s adhesion to the roof.

Peel adhesion is the degree to which the coating remains attached to the roofing material under duress.

Tear resistance is a related factor; as its name suggests, it refers to tearing as opposed to breaking.

Reflectivity is the amount of solar heat that “bounces off” a roof coating.  A higher number means that a coating will not only lower the interior temperature in your building but also reduce the wear and tear caused by temperature-driven fluctuations in the roofing material.

Where to start?  By researching the specifics reported by manufacturers, on product labels or accompanying materials or on company websites.  If you have further questions, talk to the roofing professional at Energy Seal.

Maintaining Your Roof for the Long Term

Maintaining Your Roof for the Long Term

Between daily operations and problems that require immediate attention, it’s easy to take your roof for granted. When revenues fall short and budgets have to be trimmed, roof maintenance is often among the casualties. As a result, you may find yourself forced to replace a roof earlier than you had planned.

What can property owners, managers, and engineers do to extend the working life of a roof and postpone an expensive replacement? A lot, actually – only one of the major factors that influence the performance of a roof system over time is not under your control — weather. Here’s a brief discussion of the others.

1. Design – Most people would consider this the most important single influence of the lifespan of a roof, but managers often ask contractors to submit their own designs as part of the bidding process. The roofers therefore have an incentive to propose cheaper designs to keep their bids low. While cost savings are a priority, the kind of compromises that a limited budget may require may not be in your best interest.

You’re better off working out the details of your needs before the bidding process. That process won’t add much to the overall cost of the project. Plus, when everyone involved is looking at the same set of specifications, the bids will be meaningfully comparable instead of a race to the bottom.

2. Installation – Labor is the largest line item in a roofing budget, and other factors depend on it. If the installation is faulty, the quality of the design and the materials doesn’t matter. Therefore, it’s critically important to conduct research on the contractors bidding on your job, checking references and leaning as much as you can about their previous work.

3. Materials – This is another area in which saving money must be weighed against long-term considerations. In most cases, the difference in price between high- and lower-quality products is negligible as a percentage of the overall budget.

4. Maintenance – The time for managers to develop and implement a detailed schedule for inspection and maintenance of a roof is immediately after installation. Some folks use a warranty to justify neglecting maintenance during the first several years of a roof’s service. It’s important to remember that small problems with a roof have been known to develop into extended disruptions to your business’s operations, and those aren’t covered by a warranty.

5. Construction Inspection – In an undertaking as expensive as a roof installation, it’s prudent to set up a comprehensive inspection program.to make sure that contractors are following design specifications, quality-assurance requirements, and safety standards.

Of course, you’ll have to pay up front for an appropriate design, high-quality materials, and professional construction, not to mention the ongoing expenses associated with regular inspections and maintenance. But spending now can protect you from extremely expensive repairs in the future.

The professionals at Energy Seal are happy to speak with you about another way to significantly extend the working life of your roof: elastomeric roof coatings, which protect against leaks and other types of damage while reducing your electricity bill. If you’re interested, contact us at 800.587.3758 or sales@energy-seal.com.



We regularly review the benefits of liquid roof coatings in this space. They reduce the temperature of the roof itself as well as the interior of the building, lowering power bills as well as the emissions associated with generating electricity and the wear and tear on cooling equipment associated with normal operations. Thus, the useful life of both the roof and the HVAC system can be significantly extended.

The benefits go beyond an individual building. When 2,500 square feet of roof is coated, the local carbon footprint is reduced by as much as an entire ton of carbon dioxide. That’s because the heat trapped by traditional black roofing materials contributes to the “heat island” effect, in which areas that have mostly been covered by buildings and roads experience average temperatures up to 5° F higher than less paved areas with more trees. The result is higher cooling bills even for buildings that aren’t contributing as much to the problem, not to mention the increased risks of respiratory problems, heart disease, and strokes.

From this perspective, heat-trapping roofs aren’t just a problem for building owners – they affect everyone nearby. So some municipalities are trying community-based approaches to turning down the heat.

NYC CoolRoofs

Established in 2009, NYC CoolRoofs is a city program that combines the installation of energy-conserving liquid roof coatings with job training. The collaborative effort among five city agencies is part of the city’s work toward becoming carbon-neutral by the year 2050.

If they meet a short list of conditions, non-profit organizations, low-income housing, community centers, educational facilities, hospitals and clinics can receive a cool roof coating at no charge. All other building owners can receive free labor, technical assistance, and ancillary materials (like rollers and brushes) if they pay for the coating material, which is offered at a discounted rate. Before the pandemic, individuals could volunteer to participate and businesses could sponsor installations as team-building exercises for their employees. Like everything else in the world, the program has had to adapt to changing conditions, but they’ve stuck to their original goal of coating one million square feet of roof coatings every year. 

Cool Block

By contrast, Chelsea, Massachusetts, at 2.5 square miles, is the smallest city in the state by area and has only 40,000 residents. It also differs from New York City in that the entire municipality is covered by a heat island.

The non-profit Cool Block project has adopted a single city block with an average temperature seven degrees higher than the already-high average of the rest of the city, installing what appears to be every heat-combating tool in existence: new trees, porous pavers, white concrete, grey asphalt instead of black. They’re collaborating with researchers at Boston University and the city government, which is negotiating with the Boys & Girls Club on the block about installing a cool roof coating. When the improvements are complete, the total cost will be about $350,000, most of which will be covered by a state grant.

Alex Train, Chelsea’s director of housing and community development, says a liquid roof coating applied to an elementary school in another part of the city lowered the surface temperature of the roof by 20 degrees. The average air temperature around the school dropped by 7 to 10° F during the summer months.

Cool roof technologies don’t just lower individual power bills – they help surrounding communities and the planet as a whole, even if only to a small extent.  Incremental improvements can add up to real change.  If you have questions about elastomeric coatings, the roofing professionals at Energy Seal can help. Call us at 800.587.3758 or e-mail us at sales@energy-seal.com.



Roofing professionals will tell you that a commercial or industrial roof needs sustained attention at least twice a year. Winter is the season that’s hardest on roofs, and this schedule reflects that fact. The cycle should be spring, to assess any problems resulting from the previous winter, and autumn, to make sure you’re prepared for the next one. Here’s a list of activities to undertake this spring to keep your roof in top condition.


1. Conduct regular checks. You should be checking your roof inside and outside routinely, especially after heavy rains.

2. Clear leaves, limbs, and other debris. It’ll be easier for you to see if they’ve caused any punctures, you’ll be preventing damage they might cause in the future if blown around by wind, and you’ll be making it easier for a roofer to conduct a more thorough inspection. Buildup in gutters may lead to excess drainage near the foundation of your building and possible water damage.

3. Check roof-mounted equipment. Examine components of your HVAC system, solar power gear if you have some, and anything else electrical or mechanical. Look for rust, leaks, and loose panels or other parts. Exposed wiring and unsealed vents are among the problems to look for. You may want to consult with the technicians who performed the various installations.


1. Schedule an inspection. While the untrained eye can detect serious and immediate issues, it usually takes a roofing professional to identify less obvious problems before they can become serious threats. Inspections should include flashing, skylights, fasteners, eaves, joints, and any points at which equipment penetrates the roof.  In addition to punctures, trouble can take the form of soft spots, bubbling, moss, and mold. Gutters should be checked for cracks, rust, and loose connections.

2. Fix leaks immediately. Like most of these points, this one isn’t limited to spring but still bears repeating. A minor leak can become a major one very quickly, and the resulting damage to your inventory, equipment, and building can be ruinous. Still, some business owners gamble with improvised temporary solutions. Quick repair is always your best bet.

3. Remove dirt and pooled water. Depending on the weather in your region, you may find that you need to have your roof pressure-washed to remove accumulated dirt. Pooled water should be removed before it can cause mold or leaks.

4. Prune nearby trees. Trees make your landscape more attractive and provide shade, but limbs that extend over your building can break off and fall. Trimming them also means less leaf litter building up on your roof. Allowing more sunlight to reach the roof will discourage the growth of algae in wet areas.

An elastomeric roof coating can help with many of the problems discussed here. The right coating will cover small cracks and keep weather and debris from enlarging them into serious leaks; resist moss, mold, and algae; prevent standing water from seeping into roofing materials; and minimize the wear and tear caused by maintenance professionals walking around on your roof. Talk to the roof coating professionals at Energy Seal about the right coating for your commercial or industrial roof.

Get the Right Roof Coating for Your Substrate

Get the Right Roof Coating for Your Substrate

In terms of substrates, coatings are available in two types: all-purpose, which can be used on a variety of substrates, and application-specific, which are formulated for use with a particular substrate or a narrow range.

It’s important to consider the materials that make up your roof when choosing a roof coating. After all, the chemical process of adhesion involves both surfaces, the coating and the substrate. Generally speaking, coatings will adhere less well to roofs that are smooth, hard, and composed of chemically inert compounds. Surfaces that are irregular, rough, and chemically active will bond with a coating more readily and thoroughly.

The adhesive bond between a coating and a roof can be strengthened with an appropriate base coat. It’s important to follow the coating manufacturer’s guidance when selecting a primer. For example, primers and base coats customized for built-up roofs are designed to bond with dark-colored – and therefore hot — asphalt and prevent it from combining with the coating itself, which is usually white.

A roof coating can significantly lengthen the useful life of a commercial roof, but it’s only possible to achieve the beneficial effects by choosing the right coating for your individual roof, along with the primer or base coat that will help the coating work. Professional roofing contractors and technicians will have experience with applying different types of coatings correctly and consistently, as well as accounting for uncontrollable external factors like bad weather that can affect the success of your installation.  If you want to learn more about the coatings that are most appropriate for your roof or have any other questions about roof coatings, we at Energy Seal will be happy to help you.



It’s easy to take a commercial roof for granted. Most of the time it just sits there on top of your building, with no moving parts or fuel demands. But while it may not be active, it’s very important, helping to protect your employees and physical property from the unpredictability of weather. In that sense, it’s an investment in your business, and like any investment requires some attention now and then.

What’s my best plan of action?

The single most important thing you can do to keep your roof in peak condition (even if it’s flat) is incorporate regular inspections and maintenance into your annual workflow. Winter is the season that’s toughest on roofs, but for obvious reasons it’s not always the ideal time for careful examination. Professionals recommend inspections during fall and spring, to prepare for and assess the effects of winter weather. Cleaning accumulated debris off the roof before each inspection is a good way to make sure that task is also done consistently.

Under certain conditions, additional unscheduled inspections may be necessary. The two most common of these exceptions are installation of equipment, such as a condenser unit for an HVAC system, on the roof, and an incidence of extreme weather, like heavy snow, rain, or hail, or even high winds.

Who can inspect a commercial roof?

Qualified professionals who are familiar with multiple types of roofing systems include architects, engineers, roofing contractors, and roofing consultants.

What’s involved in an inspection?

To achieve the best outcomes, collaborate with the inspector you hire on a checklist to be used at each visit. The specifics will vary but most lists will encompass the following items.

– The exterior and interior roof deck

– The exterior and interior walls that attach to the roof

– The surface and any membrane that has been applied to it

– The fascia and the edges of the roof

– Wall flashing, base flashing, counterflashing, and copings 

– Any site where the roof is penetrated, including entry points for equipment housing and base flashing

– The covers over roof expansion joints

– The pitch pans 

Isn’t this going to be expensive?

A thorough inspection program requires time and money. However, given the major disruptions and destruction that even a minor roof leak can cause, the benefits of this form of “insurance” are well worth its price.

Weather damage to roofing materials, substrate, and insulation can extend to furniture, equipment, carpets, and ceiling tiles. You or your tenants may have inventory to protect. Businesses that don’t, like self-storage and co-working facilities, can still lose revenue. Mildew and mold can form in hard-to-access places, causing unpleasant smells and, in extreme cases, illnesses. And most of us don’t store backup copies of paper or digital business records in other locations.

What else can I do to lengthen the working life of my roof?

Elastomeric roof coatings like those offered by Energy Seal are a cost-effective way to prevent new leaks from forming, reduce your energy costs, and lengthen the useful life of your roof even if it’s already been in place for a while. Contact us for more information about the best ways to protect this important investment.

Four Myths About Cool Roofing Debunked

Like many new products, cool roofing systems were greeted with skepticism when first introduced. Because little information about them was readily available, people lacked the ability to separate facts from misinformation. For example, many believed that white coatings were the only cool roofing option.

Now researchers have had time to study the properties and effects of cool roofing systems, and construction professionals and building managers have been able to assess the performance of these products for themselves. Yet the power of myth is such that some carry on despite well-known facts that disprove them.

For example, cool roofs are now available for all types of roofing systems, including the most familiar spray-on coatings and paint for metal but extending to single-ply membranes and modified bitumen. But somehow many still think the phrase “cool roof” means a white coating and nothing else. The following is a list of other common misconceptions about the technology compared with the facts you need to know if you’re considering cool roofing.

Myth #1: Cool roofs aren’t useful in cooler climates.

Since cool roofs are so effective at reflecting sunlight and keeping temperatures down inside buildings, it’s hard to blame people for assuming that the lack of heat absorption will mean higher energy costs in the winter.

In fact, there’s very little heat for a building to absorb or for a cool roof to repel. There are fewer sunny days and fewer hours of daylight on those days, and winter sunshine is less intense. Some buildings in some regions definitely require more heat after a cool roof is installed, but the reduction in cooling costs during summer is so dramatic that it dwarfs that minor additional expense.

Myth #2: The expense of cool roofs outweighs their benefits.

As you would expect, the expansion of the range of cool roofing options has also expended the range of prices. Some of them are more expensive than “non-cool” alternatives, but lower energy bills demonstrate that a cool roof generally pays for itself in a relatively short period.

The exact amount of those savings depends on a lot of factors, including the amount of insulation in the building, the type of HVAC equipment that’s installed, the cool roofing product in question, and the regional climate. It’s important to do the match when deciding if a particular cool roofing option is right for your circumstances, but the key question is not whether you’ll save but rather how much.

Myth #3: Insulation makes cool roofing unnecessary.

Actually, cool roofs and insulation complement each other. Research has demonstrated that insulation performs more effectively under a cool roof than with a standard, non-cool counterpart.

Myth #4: Cool roofing is new and therefore untested.

People have been covering their dwellings with reflective surfaces for hundreds of years. Many of the entries in the Cool Roof Rating Council’s Rated Products Directory have been on the market for multiple decades. As we mentioned above, the body of research on the benefits of cool roofing is substantial and growing.  If anything about the entire field can be described as new, it’s our improved ability to accurately assess the benefits that cool roofing provides.

At this point, those benefits are well-established.  However, it’s still important to do your homework when you’re deciding whether any particular cool roofing product is right for your budget, your building, and your circumstances. Consideration of any major expenditure should rest on facts, not myths.

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