When you were younger, did your mother ever advise you to wear a white shirt, rather than a dark one, when it was hot and sunny outside? She was trying to keep you cool. Light colors reflect a lot more sunlight than dark ones. You can apply the same concept to your roof!
How does a light roof benefit you?
When your roof is white or another lighter color, it reflect sunlight -- but more importantly, the heat from the uv radiation. This keeps your whole home cooler, so your air conditioner does not have to work as hard. Lower air conditioning bills are always a benefit, and of course, reducing your reliance on the air conditioner has environmental benefits, too.
With a lighter-colored roof, you may even be able to get away with using less insulation in your attic. This is a big advantage when you're building a new home and costs start adding up quickly.
What light-colored roofing materials are available?
As builders and homeowners start valuing energy efficiency even more, most roofing manufacturers have begun making their materials in lighter colors. You can find white, cream, tan, and light gray shingles, along with light-colored metal, slate, and tile roofs.
Some light-colored roofing materials are marketed as "cool roofs." These are sometimes even more reflective than the basic light-colored roof, so they wlll save you even more money on your AC bills. However, they are also more costly. So if you're on a limited budget, don't be afraid to go with basic shingles or metal panels in gray, cream, or white. They will still do a great job of keeping your home cool and should not cost any more than the same shingles in conventional black or brown.
Can you take advantage of this concept with an existing roof?
If your roof is still in relatively good shape, you don't have to wait 15 or 20 years until it requires replacement in order to enjoy the benefits of reflectivity. There are products known as "cool roof coatings" which you can apply to existing roofs. These are either sprays or membranes that are applied over your existing roof. They're light in color, so they cause the roof to reflect light and keep your home cooler.
To learn more about keeping your home cool with the right color roof, talk to a roofing contractor in your area, such as Berwald Roofing Inc. They can let you know what has worked well for their previous customers.