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How can your roof colour help your home?

On Aug 01 2013
Tagged as:
  • Selling

It might sound far-fetched, but the right coat of paint on your roof can make an unbelievable ...

It might sound far-fetched, but the right coat of paint on your roof can make an unbelievable difference to your electricity bill, your carbon footprint and can even help when you decide to sell your property.

While the idea is not new, the fact that so many people around the world are starting to take notice is.

In what has become known as 'the white roof movement', roofs are painted with various forms of white paint as this hue reflects the rays of the sun more than the black asphalt that's found on some roofs and more than other colours as well.

Just think of the way a black car turns into an oven on a hot day in the sun compared to a red, blue, or green car, or how fresh snow can be absolutely blinding on a sunny day.

One study from the US found that the effects of this movement are so good for the environment that if the largest 100 cities in the world painted their dark roofs white, it could offset 44 billion tons of greenhouse gases.

To put that into perspective, that would essentially wipe out the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the entire planet produces in a year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Reflecting light and heat away from the surface of the planet has been around for centuries - just think of how the Greeks use this technique to keep their homes cool. For them, it's not just a pretty postcard opportunity as the white exteriors of their homes serve a highly functional purpose too.

Not only does it keep heat away, it also means that you could end up paying less when your electricity bill arrives as the cooling effects over summer means you won't have to run energy-hungry air conditioners quite so often or quite so high.

A 2011 study from the University of Melbourne took a closer look into what the movement might mean for Australian residential properties.

Researchers were able to confirm many of the beliefs held around the white roof movement, such as benefits like reducing your utility bills, decreasing the size and prolonging the life of your air conditioning system, improving your ecological sustainability and helping you to meet building codes.

One point of note from the Australian study is that some paints have high reflectivity despite being a darker colour - they are known as 'cool' paints - however, the researchers acknowledged that white or very light paints are still superior.

If you're looking at selling a house, then going green by going white might just help to convince an eco-friendly house hunter that this is the right home for them!

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