making decisions about roof replacements

making decisions about roof replacements

Can Your Roof Help Reduce Global Warming?

by Lorraine Fisher

Over the last century, average global temperatures rose by 1.3°F. While policy makers may still be debating what to do about climate change, there are subtle effects that we can see happening today. So what can you do to help? As a building owner, there are three ways you can make your commercial roof a little more climate friendly.

Lighten the Color of Your Roof

Some research shows that painting your roof white or a light color can reflect the sun's rays, keeping the building cooler in the summer. You use less energy on air conditioning -- up to 50 cents per square foot each year.

The Columbia University Earth Institute's Global Rural Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP) shows that now, 3 percent of the Earth now is urbanized, or has buildings on it. An article in New Scientist shows that the Earth currently reflects about 29 percent of the sun that hits it. If all of our buildings had white roofs, we could reflect almost another 1 percent, bringing that reflection amount, also called albedo, to 30 percent. Just that 1 percent change could help reduce global temperatures an entire degree, nearly doing away with the rise in the past century.

You can't control all the world's roofs, but you can move in the right direction by painting your own building's roof a lighter color.

Grow Plants on Your Roof

There are a lot of reasons why more plants, especially in urban settings, can help with global warming. Like lighter colored roofs, they help to keep the building from absorbing heat from sunlight. They also:

  • Filter carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, out of the air.
  • Absorb other pollutants in the urban environment.
  • Store water that, through the daily dew and evaporation cycle, helps cools buildings.

Green roofs can also be pleasant places to gather, adding to the habitable area in your building.

Install Solar Panels

The electric power industry produces nearly one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, which increase the Earth's temperature. Solar technologies help reduce dependence on electric power and don't produce any greenhouse gases.

Building owners can use solar panels to power part or all of the power needs for their building's tenants and can send power back to the grid if they have an excess.

Solar panels can be installed on part of the roof, and anything not covered by the panels can be painted white. If given a choice, solar panels probably do more to combat global warming than a light-colored roof.

Choosing to use your roof as a way to help the environment can pay off as more building owners take advantage of one of these ways to reduce global warming. On a personal level, choosing an environmentally-friendly roof can also pay dividends in reduced energy bills. For more information, contact a roofing contractor in your area.


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making decisions about roof replacements

Is the roof on your home ready for replacement? If so, do you know what type of roofing you are going to have installed to replace it? Will you have the existing roof removed, or just have the home re-roofed? You will face several decisions while you work to replace the roof on your home. Scroll through my site to find a great list that can help you decide what product and method of installation will be best for your home. Hopefully, the information provided will take some of the confusion and stress out of this big, important home improvement project.