Black vs. White roofing

December 30, 2009
Publication: Buildings Magazine p 38
Author(s): Dean Rutila

Abstract: There's much more to selecting a roof membrane than color - but it's not a black-and-white decision. The environmental benefits of exposed-membrane, low-slope roofing systems with high solar reflectance and thermal emittance have been established by the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and others. Generally white in color or with white surfacing, these membranes reduce the solar radiation collected by roofing surfaces, which lowers the roof-surface contribution to the energy used to condition air and to the local environment. (All cool roofs are included as white roofs in this article because tan and other membranes meet high reflectance/emittance requirements.) But white isn't always best.