A white roof is better than a black roof, but a green roof trumps both every time.
Yesterday’s piece in the Greenpoint Gazette celebrated the painting of white roofs in Williamsburg, Cypress Hills and Bed-Stuy, three Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Scroll down to the bottom of the article to see Greensulate CEO Amy Norquist’s comments, including the misnomer that a white roof is indeed “green.”
Semantics aside, when you compare the two – they simply don’t measure up.
White Doesn’t Equal Might
Consider these ‘cons’ when it comes to white roofs:
- Acid rain, soot and dust stains reduce a white roof’s efficacy levels (not to mention makes them look dingy and grey)
- While energy costs may be reduced in summer, in the winter a white roof reflects sun away from a building – when that warm solar gain is a huge benefit!
- Glaring sun reflectivity from a white roof that hits adjacent buildings is migraine-inducing (spoiler alert: blinding sun glare will not foster friendly neighborhood relations)
Get that Green Roof Glow
Benefits of green roofs – real live vegetated ‘green,’ not ‘green’ as in the ubiquitous notion of “eco-friendly” – include:
- Happy neighbors: views on to green space increase property values of buildings; views also help people have a happier outlook and even check out of hospitals sooner!
- Manage stormwater
- Improves air quality
- Promotes biodiversity
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Battles urban heat island effect and the associated dangers to urban populations
- Conserves water
- Protects conventional roof from UV rays and elongates its life
- Provides year-round insulation reducing heating costs in winter and cooling costs in summer
- Improves solar panel efficiency
- Provides fire retardation
- Reduces rooftop temps more dramatically than white roofs
- Contributes to more LEED points than white roofs
So there you have it – white vs. green…it’s really no contest!