Monday, June 25, 2012

New house colors are depressing and costly

Another of my neighbors ignorantly raising his utility bills as I write.  The latest fad in house colors and roofs is depressingly dark.  In my neighborhood about 1/4 of the houses have been repainted from pastels and whites, to brown, dark grey, and a couple of odd dark lilacs and dark baby poo gold.  The neighborhood was built with shake cedar shingles which fade to near white, due to age and hail storms 80% are replaced to composite shingle.  Many are very dark, even black.  I think the color choices are crap, and very expensive choice when it comes to air conditioning bills.

Two doors over, in 100°f last summer, he had the shakes stripped off and black composites put on, he owns an air conditioning company so he is in tune with his equipment.  He told me that very day he could tell the difference, the heat exchangers started like normal, but as the new shingles went up, the compressors ran more and more.  A year later he told me his electric bill is $100 more each month, he is on an averaging plan, $1,200 a year he will pay for the black roof, for years and years to come.
18 months ago I got a new roof also, I chose a color and texture called weathered cedar, a little darker than the faded shakes but it's pretty light with multiple shades of light brown in it, it looks like shakes from a distance.  Our bills did not change.
The difference between a white roof and a black roof in summer varies by location, from 30°f to 50°f, it can reach 170°f on some dark roofs.  This heat gets into your house, it also raises the temperature of the entire area, city heat islands they are called with a 5 or 10°f penalty for the inhabitants.  This heat island also drives up water usage, wear and tear on vehicles, machinery, roads and peoples health.

Need a new roof, go light colors.  Repainting your house, go light colors.  Besides the savings in cooling expense, your neighborhood won't be so damn depressing.  As I write this, the neighbor behind me has 10 men on the roof, going from shake to grey, at least it's not black, but he is going to pay.  Big coal loves my neighborhoods new romance with the dark arts.

15 comments:

  1. When do we start replacing our shingles with energy conversion panels? Why not use shingles as a solar energy collection system, and let consumers use their rooftops to power their homes? That science is available now, why isn't it commercially available as a product?

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    1. Squatlo; I assume you mean solar roof tiles that lock together like legos and shape like the old ceramic tile, are available now from Dow I think it is, so far only in a couple of states. More states will be added as their volume goes up. The advantage of these over large panels is they mount to the roof and double as a shingle.

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  2. I really like the look of the darker houses but if I owned my own I would never paint it dark. White just makes so much more sense given the times.

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    1. Rubye Jack:
      Yep, white helps pay the bills.

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  3. Darrel,
    I am seeing copper and green colored metal roofs going in all over the place. Metal? Damn, doesn't that make the house even more hot? Now, I can understand that a metal roof will last like forever...


    Ron

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    1. Ron:
      It's not so much the metal as the color. Copper color or green will collect more heat than white, less than black. Insulation below it, is the next layer of protection. I have owned 3 houses in my life, every one I had lots of extra insulation blown in the attic, insulation is cheap, pays for it's self in a couple years.

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  4. The benefits of white roofs are not apparent, but can be very positive and long-lasting. To top it all, painting light colors in houses or roofs reduce carbon emission, cools surroundings and cuts electric bills. The perk of turning black roof into white roof is relatively simple and offbeat. It is indeed beneficial to every household and business owner out there.

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    1. Neil, Excellent,I hope you get some contracts for your business turning roofs from dark to white. Everyone in the lower 48 and Hawaii can save with a white roof. The full seasons cost of cooling is greater than heating in that area.

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  5. The prevailing belief is that the choice of the best roof color depends on how cold or hot the place is. For example, lighter-colored roofs are usually used in warm areas due to their energy-efficiency and cooling effect. This is because they reflect the sun’s rays, thus keeping the heat from entering the house. Meanwhile, dark roofs can be useful in cooler climates, as they absorb the sun's rays and keep its heat inside like a natural heater.

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    1. CC:
      The prevailing belief is correct, however in North America all but a little band of counties along the Canadian border in a few states fall into the category of spending more on cooling than heating. Expense wise, heating bills are less than cooling bills with few exceptions in the USA. Thus, light colors will save the homeowner or business owner money.

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  6. Well, if lived in your community, I would definitely choose a light colored paint for my house rather than dark ones, sacrificing appearance for comfort. I mean, a house is built to provide comfort and shelter isn’t it? Though I believe that there should be a balance between the two, comfort should still be prioritized over appearance.

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    1. KW, correct, and there is no reason a light colored or white house should be viewed as sacrificing appearance.

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  7. I wouldn't question the personal interests of other people. If they want to make their house more appealing rather than make it cost-efficient, that's their choice. But for me, it's best to counter the hot or freezing weather rather than tolerate it. Installing white roofs on a house where there is a hot, tropical climate can be beneficial, as it reflects 70% of heat, while, dark roofs can be a good choice for the cold climate countries, because it absorbs heat causing the temperature inside to rise.

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    1. North of the 45th parallel, or in Toronto, dark colors can be beneficial if the heating energy bill exceeds the cooling, which I think it will.

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  8. I totally agree with you! Light colors do help brighten up the place and lower one's electricity bill. However, if you live in a cold region, I think it's best that you opt for darker colors for your wall and roof as it would help make your rooms warmer.

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