Green Myth of White Roofs in North

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There is this green myth about white roofs, which have been migrating north for the past 10 years.

There are mandates for their use in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.

Well white roofs reduce cooling costs, so are beneficial in warmer, southern climates, but we also know the untold story is that they carry a significant heating penalty in northern cities.

Those with a vested interest in white roofing have capitalized on perceptions created by the Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR program and incomplete studies from sources such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and they have been able to launch a movement that not only is costly but also damaging to our environment.

White Roofs do Have Increased Costs

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Using a roof energy savings calculator developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and approved by Lawrence Berkeley, the EPA, DOE and California Energy Commission, a manufacturer of white and green roofs has found that regardless of heat source, square footage or insulation level, reflective white residential roofs in northern cities waste natural resources and cost homeowners more money. The same is true with commercial buildings.

Proponents also claim that white roofs reduce global warming. But a study at Stanford University shows that white roofs may actually INCREASE, not decrease, the earth’s temperature. The study suggests that white roofs reflect heat upward into the atmosphere where it mixes with black and brown soot particles that retain heat and contribute to global warming. Another study from Arizona State University indicates widespread adoption of highly reflective cool roofs could negatively impact rainfall patterns across the United States.

Madison roofers informs us that white roofs reduce cooling costs, so are beneficial in warmer, southern climates, but we also know the untold story is that they carry a significant heating penalty in northern cities.

Source: Carlisle Syntec

2 Comments on “Green Myth of White Roofs in North

  1. This is a perfect example that most ‘green’ initiatives have a ton of tradeoffs. I also read that installing white roofs can be harmful to the laborers because of the glare. Also, if we painted everything white, including roads, that could be destructive to our vision. Reduce, reduce, reduce is so much more important than trying to ‘engineer’ our way out of our environmental mess!

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