Lighter Roofs save $1Billion USD Annually

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Climate Change Research Conference advised that if buildings and road surfaces in 100 of the largest cities in the US were covered with lighter and heat-reflective surfaces the savings could be massive. Roofs account for 25% and pavement account for 35% of surface area in cities.  Since 2005, California has required white roofs on commercial buildings, however, starting in 2009, all “new and retrofitted residential and commercial buildings in California (both flat and sloped roofs), will have to install heat-reflecting roofing.” Painting flat roofs white is easy but sloped roofs are more difficult and this is why they will be allowed to just install “lighter” roof surfaces.

Lighter or metal roofs help to lower electricity costs by reducing cooling needs. Authors of the study, published in the journal Climatic Change, reported that cooling a city will also reduce smog and offset carbon emissions. Lighter roofs do not directly emit fewer emissions, however, they will directly affect other things which emit carbon like the energy needed to cool your home under that dark roof.


Geo-engineering, which means “the artificial manipulation of the environments of the Earth” estimates for net annual energy savings in the US from increasing lighter roof surfaces could top $1 Billion USD.


These lighter roofs can be made from vinyl materials, acrylic paints, or even green roofs planted on the roof. This will mean more green jobs, though the exposure to these chemicals is not great. In order to lower electric bills, particularly in desert conditions or climates that get high temperatures and lots of sun, residents can choose to independently add white or metal roofs outside of city regulations.





1 Response to “Lighter Roofs save $1Billion USD Annually”

  1. 1 Eugene October 20, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Nice article. Thanks. 🙂 Eugene

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