Lighter Roofs Could Save $1 Billion

by Tim Fulton on September 10, 2008

Image: Mr. Mystery

Looking at the black roof just makes you want to not be up there in the summer, right? But what if it were white, that wouldn’t be so bad. Well, it’s exactly that thought that made the state of California require all new or renovated roofs to be white or “lighter” to some degree.

In cities around the country, a full 25% of surface area is residential and commercial roofs, which means that white, which reflects UV rays and such, would be the perfect color to reduce cooling costs and much of the heat island effect experienced by large cities.

In 2005 California began requiring new commercial buildings with flat roofs to paint them white, but because angled roofs and residences are a bit trickier, it has taken longer to pass further regulation. However, with estimates that lighter roofs could save this US $1 billion dolars a year, California has began to tighten up their regulations.

No one knows if other states will sign on, but hopefully both states and businesses catch on to what California is already doing.

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1 Brice September 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm

That just straight-up makes sense.

2 Hammer September 17, 2008 at 3:08 am

Really, I wonder why nobody thought of it before.

3 manofason February 9, 2009 at 9:36 am

I wonder about this, its ignoring the potential for passive heating in winter and other climates. Another approach would be to make the roof “lighter” in weight, so as to not store heat and ensure there’s adequate insulation or draught below the roof. Then you could look at ways of sealing that space below the “skin” of the roof and through heat exchangers or similar, use the heat in the house.

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