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Roof with blue sky backdrop

An energy-efficient roof can save you a lot of money, but what would it take to make the conversion?

We all know darker colors retain heat.

So how does that change your a/c and heating bills? How does that make you more or less energy-efficient?

Generally, the lighter your roof color, the less heat your roof and home retain, which means the less your a/c has to work to keep your home cool.

Which means you’d have some great energy-efficient roofing.

Highly-reflective roofs are white and deflect a lot of the sun’s heat. But white roofs don’t look good on every home and may not be suitable for everyone.

So here are a few good things to know when you’re checking for ways to make your roof more energy-efficient.

How Does White Roofing Measure Up?

white roof on house

Typically, a white roof can reflect about 80% of the sunlight that hits it. A gray roof may only reflect about 20%. Black is less than that.

The white roof itself will stay about 55 degrees cooler than the gray roof. So darker colors tend to warm the area within and around them.

You can definitely get some savings off your a/c costs in the summer with a highly-reflective roof.

But there are trade-offs such as cost, since cooler roofs tend to cost a little more than other roofs to install. But you may save enough money through reduced energy costs that the premium would be worth it to you.

And a white roof would work opposite in the winter, while a darker roof would be more advantageous.

The type of roof to get will depend on where you live, the pitch of your slope, and the shade around the house you already have. So compare quotes and ask a few roofing professionals about your options before you decide.

How Do Dark Roofing Measure Up?

dark roof on house

Typical dark roof shingles, especially the popular asphalt shingles, do absorb more sunlight. Therefore, they hold more heat and warm up the space around and within them.

However, there are reflective coatings that can go on roofs now which increases their reflective abilities. And proper ventilation and insulation can keep a lot of that absorbed heat out.

Metal roofs can also reflect quite a bit of heat during the summer months.

Not to mention, a darker roof’s ability to retain more heat is very helpful in cold places. You’ll actually be able to reduce your heating costs a bit with them too. And they help snow melt quickly which is important in colder climates.

So once again, it’s best to talk to several roofing experts and get a feel for what’s best for your home and location.

Are All Cool Roofs White?

metal roofs

Not necessarily.

Though white is the best cool roof, there are cooler options for darker shades.

But darker cool roofs come with a premium as there are added cooling pigments which are added to them in order to make them cooler.

Your roof’s slope can determine which material will be best for heat reflection and energy-efficiency.

How Much Is Cooler, Energy-Efficient Roofing?

white metal roof

A cool roof can cost up to $1/sq. ft. more than a typical roofing material.

If you’re upgrading a pre-existing roof to be more energy-efficient, you can expect to pay an extra $1- $2.50/sq. ft. depending on which materials you’re working with.

However, there are federal and state incentives and rebates for projects and appliances that are more energy-efficient. These incentives can help you make the energy-efficiency switch to save money at a much lower cost.

Are Solar Panels A Better Investment?

There are energy incentives for going solar (the Investment Tax Credit, for example). And there are many solar companies that offer solar programs at very affordable rates for homeowners.

You’ll save thousands more over the years with solar energy than you would from merely reflecting heat from your roof. Though, both together may work awesome.

And solar panels increases your home’s resale value. Research shows that potential homeowners are very interested in buying a home with solar even with the added premium that comes along with it.

Many homeowners are already reducing their energy bills to $0 a month with just solar panels. And a typical solar energy system may not even cost more than replacing your roof (depending on your circumstances, of course).

With the popularity and affordability of solar rising, a solar investment might be a better financial decision in the long run.


Your situation of course will vary depending on a number of factors. So, it’s best to ask your local roofing and solar professionals, and shop around for quotes, before you make any final decisions.