“Green” Roofs

By: Aaron Schrag

How can you save money on your building cooling costs and protect the environment? The answer is as simple as a white roof. Traditional roofs are dark colored and absorb the visible light energy of the sun. The heat energy is transferred through the building materials into your conditioned space, driving up your cooling costs.

White roofs reflect most of the radiant energy, reducing building cooling loads and the urban heat island effect. A traditional dark colored roof can increase in temperature as much as 122 °F above ambient air temperature, while a white roof typically only increases 25 °F above ambient air temperature. That translates to about a 15%-30% reduction in cooling costs. Many manufacturers now offer white or light colored roofing membranes. There are even white tar roll on coatings available to “paint” over dark shingles with the same effect as white roofing membranes.

White roofs reduce pollution created by power plants by reducing energy consumption. As white roofs become more aesthetically acceptable, you are sure to see them on a building near you.

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