When your airplane is making its final descent into Southwest Florida International Airport, peek out the window and pay close attention to the rooftops.
You’ll notice residential structures like single-family homes, duplexes and apartment buildings have roofs in a variety of colors, oftentimes hues of orange, red, brown, beige and gray. Meanwhile, newer commercial buildings often sport flat white roofs.
There is a good reason for this.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, flat white roofs are among a group of roofing styles called “cool roofs” that are “designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof.” Much like individuals wearing white or light-colored clothing in the summer, white roofs help keep a structure cooler by reflecting intense rays from the sun. A cooler roof means less heat penetrates a structure from above, and thus the A/C system doesn’t need to work overtime when it’s hot outside.
The White Roof Project, a 501(c)(3) organization promoting white roofs as environmentally friendly, estimates that white roofs can reduce energy use in the summer by 10-40%, which helps to save money, prevent pollution and lower energy demand at peak hours.
On flat roofs atop shopping centers, high-rises and other commercial buildings, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal uses a type of roofing called TPO, which is short for thermoplastic polyolefin. TPO is a single-ply membrane that covers a roof structure rather than shingles, tiles or metal panels. TPO is adhered or mechanically attached to a structure and costs less than other roofing materials. It also helps prolong a roof’s lifespan.
So if flat white roofs are so great, why doesn’t every commercial building or residence use white?
One reason is TPO roofs are designed for use on flat or low-slope roofs, not gable or hip roofs that are commonly found on single-family homes and smaller office buildings. It’s actually against code to install TPO on a sloped roof.
Another reason there has not been a surge in demand for white tiles or shingles is that roofing materials are now better engineered to have reflective and insulating properties, regardless of the color. In May, the Florida Community Association Journal published an article addressing this exact issue: “Advances in roofing technology mean now might be the time to upgrade your roof.”
If your roof might be nearing its expected lifespan and you’re interested in saving money on energy costs, Target Roofing offers a variety of options to help keep your electric bills in check. Call us today at 239-332-5707.