Black, white, and ‘green’— When it comes to the most cost-effective roof, what does it all mean?

10/06/2014

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab have compared the economic costs and benefits of three roof — and found that white roofs are the most cost effective.

Economic Comparison of White, Green, and ” authors Julian Sproul, Benjamin Mandel, and Arthur Rosenfeld of Berkeley Lab and Man Pun Wan of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore compared the economic trade-offs between three roof types by analyzing 22 US commercial flat-roof projects that included a 50-year life cycle cost analysis.

White roofs win based on the purely economic factors we included, ” Rosenfeld, distinguished scientist emeritus of the Berkeley Lab and former commissioner of the California Energy Commission, said in a Berkeley Lab press release.

Green roofs, which have grown in popularity for aesthetic and environmental reasons, provide certain benefits not captured in the study, including stormwater management and Green space for those who live or work under rooftop gardens. Regardless, these vegetated roofs do not offset climate change like white roofs, which reflect roughly three times more sunlight, and offset a portion of the warming effect from harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

White roofs reigned supreme in the year cost analysis, which found that even the most inexpensive green roof costs $7 per square foot more than black roofs and that White roofs save $2 per square foot compared with black ones.

However, the study included only economic results, and in their news release, the Berkeley Lab team acknowledged the need to consider such as health and in future analyses. We have recognized the limitations ” We would want to include these other factors in any For example, in cities where summer temperatures soar, black roofs pose major health risks. It is why, according to Rosenfeld, policymaking is so important.

Rosenfeld is a supporter of “cool” roofs—which include white roofs that reflect sunlight, reducing energy costs and addressing global warming, and are used in roughly two-thirds of new roofs or roof-reinstallations. He was coautor of a 2009 study that found that making roofs and pavements more reflective could offset 44 billion tons of CO2 emissions. Another study with similar results found that these cool roofs could offset emissions of roughly 300 million cars for 20 years.

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