As society becomes increasingly concerned about conserving energy and protecting the environment, design and material aspects about our homes are bound to change. Many people have switched to energy-efficient CFL light bulbs, consistently turn off lights when they leave rooms, and throw away as little trash as possible. Expect another change to gain popularity. In efforts to combat global warming and reduce urban temperatures, white roofs are being found on more and more homes across the country.
The Problem with Black
Most rooftops in America are made of tar. This material is dark and absorbs heat, causing an increase in a building's temperature. This may seem beneficial in cool climates, but in reality, black roofs save northerners minimal amounts money in the winter. Sunlight contributes very little to the heating of a building in the winter because of the shorter number of daylight hours and the indirect angle of the sun.
Black roofs can also be a major energy drain in warmer parts of the country, especially during the summer. Collectively, Americans spend $40 billion annually on air conditioning. Not only does this cost consumers a lot of money, but because running the air conditioner requires the burning of fossil fuels, it contributes to global warming, and exacerbates the problem.
Bring on the White
White rooftops are not a new concept. They have been used on homes in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Bahamas for hundreds of years. White roofs were also very popular in Florida before air conditioning became common in the 1950s.
White roofs, also known as cool roofs, reflect light and heat. It is estimated that this color roof can help you save as much as 20% on the cost of cooling your home during the summer by reflecting 85% of the sun's rays. In fact, cool roofs have been required for any new commercial construction buildings in California since 2005. New York is also requiring low-sloped roofs that need replacement to be painted white and other states are joining the movement with new laws and regulations.
Urban Heat Island Effect
Urban Heat Island effects are a major problem in cities. Often, a city can be 22 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than surrounding suburbs. This is partially due to the heat trapping surfaces like black rooftops and roads. The increase in temperature in a city also leads to increases in the following:
Pollution, especially smog
Painting roofs white can reduce the temperature of a city by 2 degrees Fahrenheit. This may not seem significant, but it is enough to lower energy demands and reduce blackouts. White roofs in Los Angeles have also been shown to help reduce smog.
Paint It White
To turn your black roof white, all you need is some special paint. In addition to saving you money on energy bills, this white paint has two advantages over black roofs.
Durability. The paint can bend on hot days due to elastic properties. This helps to prevent warping and cracking, extending the life of the roof.
Less Waste. Additional coats of paint can be applied on top of the first coat. There is no need to scrape off tar. This reduces the amount of waste put in landfills and could potentially keep 7 to 10 million tons of roofing waste from entering a landfill.
If you are ready to save money on your energy bill while doing your part to protect the environment, contact Modern Roofing or a similar company to help you with this project. Like many of the changes that can be made to achieve a sustainable future, this is a simple step you can take. Join the movement and feel the temperature difference!