Instead of having buildings with heat absorbing black rooftops, a building with a white roof can lead to lower interior temperatures in the summer. White rooftops combat Urban Heat Island (UHI) by decreasing both inside and outside temperatures. You can rely less on air conditioning and other electrical cooling devices. A white rooftop can save you up to 40% of energy usage*!
Other solutions exist, but none is without flaw.
Green roofs beautify a property and promote use of the roof. A unique property of green roofs is that it presents the possibility for evaporative cooling, also known as evapotranspiration. Although there are benefits to green roofs, they are also difficult to install and maintain, and are very expensive. The cost is initially $10-25 per square foot, but depending on the roofing membranes, railings, and plants, the price increases significantly. Often totaling over $20,000-$30,000.
Blue roofs, sometimes known as roof ponds, catch and store rainwater in order to lower rooftop temperatures, but the added weight strains and concerns about leaks have decreased its popularity. Some people favor coupling blue roofs with green roofs.
Photovoltaic panels or solar panels, despite their energy benefits, are very expensive and are not known for cooling rooftops. They are great however, if you have the budget and would like to reduce your energy expenses in the long run. On very sunny days you may even contribute energy to the grid and get financial returns from your energy company.
White tops, on the other hand, is inexpensive and low-maintenance. Coating a roof white only requires a few helpful hands and 2-3 days of fair weather. Organizations like Cool Roofs NYC provide you with volunteers that do all the work for you. Once installed, you should see some decreases in interior temperatures on your top floors and decreases in your energy bills in the summer. Not only that, the new coating also extends the roof's lifespan, since it serves as an additional barrier against erosion, rain, and light radiation.
For You. Enjoy cooler summers while saving money! Not to mention your roof will stay in good condition longer.
For Everyone. With enough white roofs, we will decrease UHI* and fossil fuel consumption.
For the Future You. White Tops, other environmental organizations, will contribute to stabilizing global temperatures.
* Young. (1998). Cool Roof: Light Colored Coverings Reflect Energy Savings and Environmental Benefits. Building Design & Amp, Volume 39, Number 2. Reed Business Information Inc.