Debate Continues Over Benefits of White Roofs

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently completed an economic analysis of white roofs versus their green and black counterparts. The debate over the relative merits of white versus green roofs is far from over, however.
February 5, 2014, 7am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Lidija Grozdanic shares news of a study published in the Energy and Buildings Journal that “compared three types of roofs – green, black and white – and came to the conclusion that white roofs have great economic benefits, and they are also three times more effective than the other two at fighting climate change.”

Among the findings of the report:

  • Green roofs’ high installation/replacement costs outweigh their long service lives.
  • Per unit area, white roofs cool the globe 3× more effectively than green roofs.

Still, earlier studies conflict with the results of the new study, as noted by Grozdanic: “Although we are excited to find out how different roofing strategies may affect climate change, one should be aware of the fact that these investigations involve a wide spectrum of factors and potential consequences far too complex for a hotheaded (pun intended) thumbs-up verdict.”

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