If you live in a place with hot summers, a white roof can make a huge difference. Think about it: in summer we tend to wear light-colored or white clothes – as opposed to dark ones – because they reflect heat more easily and keep us from getting too hot. White roofs have a similar effect, benefiting both our homes and the environment.
You can create a white roof a number of ways. Buy solar reflective asphalt shingles or clay, concrete or fiber cement tiles. Or paint an existing dark roof with a reflective white coating that has a solar reflectance index (SRI) as high as 90 percent.
Another important aspect of a white roof is that it emits thermal heat. A white roof can emit up to 90% of absorbed heat, maintaining a stable, cooler temperature inside your house. This increase energy efficiency, reduces utility bills and extends the life of your roof.
Heat Island Effect
Urban areas tend to be hot. Not only are they covered in dark surfaces including roofs and asphalt, they also have a lot of people. And just a little vegetation and green spaces. All the dark surfaces absorb lots of heat and don’t reflect – or emit – enough of it.
The “urban heat island” effect, as it’s called, contributes to climate change by forcing people to use lots of energy to cool their homes. White roofs help solve this problem by absorbing significantly less heat, which in turn lowers the overall temperatures in the area. And those cooler temperatures also lead to less smog!
White roofs can save you money. Since they do not absorb heat, the interior of your house will heat up much less, reducing the need for air conditioning. Other ways to keep your house cool if you live in a hot climate is to use Shade Grade window inserts. They block solar heat gain through your windows. Both strategies will cut your energy consumption, reduce your carbon footprint and save you money.
White roofs usually last twice as long as black roofs sine they don’t absorb heat that can crack and warp them. They have longer warranties and require less maintenance and repairs. Since they don’t have to be replaced as often, they reduce waste going to the landfills.
If you decide to paint your roof white, you should be able to do it yourself. But if you have never done any work on your roof, or the prospect makes you uneasy, consider hiring professional roofing contractors.