Black vs Other colors - Efficiency

Scott Norris

I am replacing my Decra roof with a new roof and need help with color selection. We want to install black but know the color absorbs heat much more than lighter colors. We live in TX and the sun is brutal. Knowing white would be best from an energy standpoint, that is not an option.

Does anyone know the energy impact of black vs lighter colors such as Charcoal pr Grey? I'm sure the difference may not be that much, but I can not get a clear answer from Decra or roofer. They say it does increase attic heat but they can add ventilation to help.

Thanks, SN

Todd Miller
Isaiah Industries, Inc.

I am not sure you will find a study into exactly what you're seeking. However, I first started researching and studying the impact of metal roofing on attic heat gain in 1984. It has been my observation over the years that ventilation and also thermal break (no direct contact between the metal and the roof deck) are of greater impact than surface reflectivity. My general advice is to buy the color you like ... get a reflective pigment version of it if available ... and then look for ventilation and a thermal break. Also, keep in mind that, in many environments, very light colored roofs will get dirty over time and lose some of their natural reflectivity anyway.

Mike M
curious homeowner

"Reflective pigment" ? As in a glossy finish? I think that diffuse reflection is much more important to energy balance than specular reflection (mirror-like finish).

Todd Miller
Isaiah Industries, Inc.

Reflective pigment is available with many metal roofs. These special "cool colors" provide solar reflectivity to meet Energy Star standards. This solar reflectivity is unrelated to gloss.

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