Think about it: in summer we tend to wear light-colored clothes – as opposed to dark ones – because they reflect heat and keep us from getting too hot. White roofs have a similar effect, benefiting both us and the environment.
There are a number of ways you can add a white roof to your home:
- Paint an existing dark roof with a reflective white coating that has a solar reflectance index (SRI) as high as 90 percent
- Solar reflective asphalt shingles or clay
- concrete or fiber cement tiles
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 increases energy efficiency, reduces utility bills, and extends the life of your roof.
The “Heat Island Effect”
Urban areas tend to be hot because we’ve replaced plants with asphalt. Not only that, but they are covered in other dark surfaces, like roofs, and a lot of people. All the dark surfaces absorb lots of heat and don’t reflect 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 by absorbing significantly less heat, which lowers the overall temperatures in the area. Those cooler temperatures also lead to less smog!
White Roofs Can Save You Money
White roofs absorb much less heat, the interior of your house will stay cooler, reducing the need for air conditioning. Another way to keep your house cool if you live in a hot climate is to use UV blocking window inserts. They block solar heat gain through your windows. Both strategies cut your energy consumption, reduce your carbon footprint, and save you money.
White roofs usually last twice as long as black roofs since they don’t absorb heat which 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.
A roof white is a great DIY project for someone experienced in home repair. But, if you have never done any work on your roof, or the prospect makes you uneasy, consider hiring professional roofing contractors.
Want other tips for keeping your home cool and saving energy during the summer? Read our blog: How to Block Sunlight Heat from Windows.