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  • Writer's pictureRamon Roofing

How White Roofing Benefits You & Fights the Urban Heat Island Effect

It’s no secret that cooling your facilities is a massive cost for building owners in the warmer months.


With a white roofing system, building owners & property managers can save money while combating the Urban Heat Island Effect.


If you are unfamiliar with the Urban Heat Island Effect and how it harms the environment, this blog is for you!


Keep reading to find out how white roofing helps you save on energy bills while protecting the environment.


What’s the Urban Heat Island Effect, and How Does it Harm Us?


Let’s start with a simple comparison.


In the summertime, which color shirt is better for staying cool in the sun: white or black?


Obviously, it’s white!


As you know, the darker the color, the more light is absorbed; heat is also absorbed and retained.


In contrast, lighter colors reflect UV rays more efficiently, preventing excess heat from being trapped in the fabric.


The same is true for roofs!


As a city develops, the natural foliage of the landscape is replaced with buildings and pavement.


Compared to the natural landscape, artificial surfaces are typically much darker and made of heavier materials, causing excess heat to be maintained within the city.


This is what is referred to as the Urban Heat Island Effect, And this effect is not minimal.


According to the EPA, daytime temperatures within urban areas can be up to 7° compared to the surrounding areas!


Thankfully, one of the best solutions for combatting the effect is just as simple as changing your black tee shirt for a lighter color: White Roofing.


What is White Roofing?


White Roofing, also known as a cool roof, is about as obvious as it sounds: a roofing system covered in a lighter color than the traditional black commercial roofing systems.


Typically, PVC, TPO & EPDM roofing systems utilize white as a color for reflectivity, but all roofs can be transformed into white roofs via the installation of Commercial Roof Coating Systems.


To learn more about all three of these systems, check out our Commercial Roofing page on these materials here.


In New York City, the CoolRoof initiative hired 70 people to help coat tar roofs white. So far, they have nearly covered over 7 million square feet of commercial roofs white!


Because of their lighter color, cool roofs allow for more efficient thermal reflection, combating the Urban Heat Island effect and keeping the roof’s surface temperature cooler.


According to Sentry Roof, the surface temperature of a black roof can soar up to 190° on a 90° day, while a white roof tops out at only 120°, which represents a 70° difference!


Let’s look at how white roofing helps fight against the Urban Heat Island Effect.


White Roofing & The Urban Heat Island Effect


If darker surfaces in urban areas cause the Urban Heat Island Effect, then it is obvious how cool roofing can help combat the effect.


That said, the question remains: How effective are white roofs at combating the Urban Heat Island Effect?


Let’s look at the statistics.


According to a 2014 study by Matei Georgescu, a researcher at Arizona State University, temperatures in California could be reduced by 1.5° if the state instituted a White Roofing Initiative.


Looking globally, Keith Oleson from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, asked a bigger question:



In his research to answer this question, he found that the average daytime temperature could be reduced by nearly 0.6° celsius in the world’s urban areas!


There is undoubtedly a scientific basis for the benefits of cool roofing on the environment.


But, by now, you might be thinking, ok, that is amazing, but how can a white roof benefit me personally?


Let’s get into it!


How Cool Roofs Save Building Owner's Money


While we’ve established how white roofing supports the ecosystem by combating the Urban Heat Island Effect, we haven’t gotten into the particulars of just how a white roof benefits building owners.


Let’s start with the savings on energy bills.


According to The New York Times, a cool roof can save building owners up to 20% monthly on cooling costs during a year's hottest months.


Yearly, a white roof can represent savings of nearly $0.50 per square foot, according to this study by the EPA.


Another way a cool roof benefits building owners is its resistance to UV damage.


With traditional black commercial roofing, the roof is damaged by the sun in two major ways.


Firstly, the darker-colored surface absorbs significantly more energy, causing premature deterioration to your roof.


Secondly, because a dark roof absorbs much more heat, it is more susceptible to thermal shock, a process that can damage your building and ultimately lead to leaks and costly repairs.


Beyond actively saving building owners money on energy bills, white roofing can help you save money in the long term by avoiding unnecessary replacements following UV damage.


How Ramon Roofing Can Help You Choose Your Next White Roofing System


Here at Ramon Roofing, we are experienced in installing multiple forms of cool roofing.


We work with top manufacturers to bring our customers TPO and PVC white roofing systems.


We also offer coating systems that can extend your existing roof’s lifespan while bringing the cost-saving benefits of cool roofing without the need to replace your current roof.


If you are considering a cool roof for your building, please contact us for an in-depth consultation.


One of our experts is waiting to guide you through the process and help you decide on a roofing system that perfectly fits your needs.


Make your consultation today: www.ramonroofing.com/contact-us


(817) 924-1645


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