White Roofs: A Growing Trend

It is a simple fact of physics that dark roofs retain more heat from sunlight than do white or lighter colored ones. For this reason and others, these so-called “cool” roofs offer a host of benefits over their darker colored cousins. Here is a quick rundown on the most notable of them:

Lowered energy costs – During the summer and the warmer periods of spring and fall, the sunlight incident on a roof produces an enormous amount of heat not only on the roof itself but also within the underlying structure. Lighter colored roofs reflect more of this sunlight and therefore reduce the need for air conditioning. The result is lowered utility bills during these months. A converse benefit for darker roof during the winter months where sunlight helps to heat the house is not as pronounced due to shorter days the less acute angle of the sun and increased overcast skies.

Better internal environment – People love the great outdoors for many reasons and one of the most important is the fresh air that it affords. For that reason, many folks like to open their windows on the more temperate days of summer. Still, some people do not care for the heat and humidity that sometimes accompanies the summer months. A cool roof helps to alleviate this problem on all but the hottest days by keeping the heat out but still allowing the breeze to flow through the windows. For the same reason, cool roofs are quite valuable in keeping nonair-conditioned spaces like garages feeling comfortable.

Less maintenance – Cool roofs can be made of any of several highly reflective materials including paints and spray foams, bitumen sheet coverings, ceramic tiles or traditional shingles. Each of these materials has their own particular maintenance requirements but the diminished heat load means that the roofing materials themselves, and anything used to affix them to the structure, will need less maintenance, repair, or reinstallation. In addition, the decreased roof temperature bodes well for extending the useful service life of the roof. A small downside is cool roofs can be susceptible to mold infiltration in warm, moist climates but that us not usually a concern in more northern climates.

Environmental impact – Cool roofs have important ramifications for the surrounding environment outside of the structure on which they are installed. For one, in cities, cool roofs help to lower local air temperatures known as the “urban heat island effect.” Secondly, they lower peak electricity demand thus avoiding local power brownouts and outages. Lastly, through lowered electrical demand, cool roof reduce emissions from far-off power plants including sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides and mercury. All, in all, an excellent result for the planet and all the creatures that live on it.

Improved aesthetics – The growing trend towards cool roofs is not entirely about functionality. In fact, many home and office building owners prefer the look of lighter colored roofs. Designers frequently cite research that light colored roofs make a house look larger. These roofs also make your home stand out from the other houses in your neighborhood. Both can be significant factors when it comes time to sell your residence in a few years.

For more detailed information on the installation of cool roofs and their benefits for you are your home, please contact us at All-Nu Construction. We can be found online or reached directly at 419.242.5568.