18 December 2012
The colour of a roof can affect its energy efficiency, according to a recent study by Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, which claims that painting roofs white is as environmentally friendly as taking cars off the roads for half a century. The scientists found that the simplest way of engineering an environment that can cope with global warming is to increase the reflectivity of the roof, so more of the incoming sunlight is directed back into space. (Results of the study were published in Environmental Research Letters.)
How beneficial are they?
Albedo is a measure of the reflectivity of the earth’s surface and it is measured on a scale of zero to 1; with 1.0 being completely reflective and zero absorbing all sunlight. Increasing the albedo can decrease the temperature in the atmosphere.
Light-coloured surfaces in warm climates that reflect infra-radiation are cooler than traditional buildings and conserve energy as well as carbon. A city or town which has light-coloured roofs and pavements can increase their albedo by about 10% which on a global scale will provide a CO2 offset of between 130 billion and 150 billion tonnes. In other words, this is the same as taking all vehicles in the world off the road for 50 years.
What should you do?
If your customers are considering a roof renovation, you will be doing them a favour by educating them about light-coloured tiles boosting sustainability. Black tiles are not energy efficient and should be avoided at all costs if they want to save money and cut energy usage. An inefficient roof can raise the utility bill.
The style of the roof can play a part in determining the character of the house and the tiles can make a big difference in the appearance of the home. Make sure you thoroughly research the market before making any hasty decisions.
Style vs. proficiency
Many people choose darker roof materials because they look aesthetically pleasing and they tend to look better for longer periods of time because the wear and tear is fairly obscured. However, you can achieve a middle ground with a medium-coloured roof such as tan blend or medium grey. These are energy-efficient as well as stylish.
As you can see, the colour of a roof is crucial to a property’s sustainability. It is a fundamental part of the home as it keeps its residents warm and dry but it can also have an important role in reducing their carbon footprint. Obviously it would be costly to replace all the tiles on a roof just for the sake of the colour, but if a customer needs to replace their roof, you can assure them that going with a light colour is a worthwhile investment.
Written by Sarah Orio, Marketing Manager at MyRedlandRoof, a roofing company in the UK.