Thursday, September 16, 2010

Can't Afford a Green Roof? Think White

Green roofs have been getting a lot of attention in the U.S. lately, though they've been popular in Europe for quite a while now. The thought of replacing the life giving natural air cleaners and temperature regulators that we are clearing for building space with a rooftop garden is very appealing. But it has its considerations that could be costly.

The structure has to be strong enough to support the rooftop garden, or green roof. And then there's the cost of planting it. I love the idea of green roofs, but it's not an option for everyone.

That's why I was so excited to learn about white roofs. And especially excited today when I read an article that said simply painting a dark roof with reflective white paint could bring down the temperature on the roof by 50 to 60 degrees F.

With the roof temperature lowered, the inside of the building will remain cooler, reducing the need to run the air conditioner, which in turn cuts down on emissions.

According to the article, the writer painted a square of a dark gray roof white and a colleague measured the temperature with an infrared gun. The newly painted square had a temperature of 98 degrees and decreasing. The colleague then  used the gun on an unpainted area 5 feet away, and the temperature was 143 degrees and rising.

The astounding results came with just one coat of paint.

A cool roof movement is starting in urban areas. It combines the use of cool roof material along with the white paint for government buildings.

But for the average homeowner, the existing roof can be painted white and keep the home cooler. This saves us money on air conditioning and gives us the satisfaction of knowing we have cut down on the production of carbon dioxides.

A win - win proposition.

photo used with permission under morgueFile Free License