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The impact of roof color on barndominium’s temperature control

Barndominiums’ roofing effectively controls indoor temperature, especially the lighter shades that reflect the head whereas the darker ones are absorbed. Nowadays, cool roofs are having dark pigments mainly designed to combat the heat.

This article illustrates how the choice of your roof effectively addresses the indoor climate of your barndominium.

I saw a massive 20% decrease in my Dallas’s barndo climate. And, I’m going to share secrets of using the roofing color to significantly control indoor temperature of your barndominium.

From the humid summers of the Southern states to the more temperate climates in the North, your roof color matters more than you might think.

The Influence of Color on Temperature

Imagine two identical barndominiums sitting side by side in the heart of Texas, one shaded with dark and the other covered in a light color.

The difference in the temperature inside these homes can be roughly 15 to 25%.

But why is that?

Let me help you.

Darker roofs absorb a hefty amount of the sun’s rays, converting them directly into heat, which then permeates your living space, pushing your AC to work overtime.

On the flip side, lighter colors, act like a reflective shield, bouncing off a significant portion of that solar energy to the opposite direction, thereby maintaining a cooler interior.

According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, switching to a cool roof can reduce indoor temperatures by about 2°F to 5°F, even without air conditioning.

This is not just about comfort; it’s also about efficiency and savings that effectively help you to make your barndo a green one.

Here’s our definitive guide for your barndominiums’ roofing.

From Personal Experience to Broader Insights

While living in the heat of Florida, I once faced the dilemma of choosing a new roof for one of my client’s barndominium.

I opted for a lighter shade to transform his indoor climate which slashed the cooling costs by nearly 20% during the peak summer months.

This isn’t just my story; it’s a scenario that numerous Americans could replicate for both comfort and energy efficiency.

A Deeper Dive: Costs and Savings Across the U.S.

The impact of roof color on energy savings isn’t uniform across the U.S.

In places like Phoenix and Miami, where the sun heats high, the choice of a lighter roof can lead to substantial savings.

For example, a light-colored roof in Miami could save you as much as $150 to $180 annually compared to a dark roof by saving energy costs. This is prudent!

Conversely, in cooler regions such as Portland, OR, or Minneapolis, MN, the benefits still exist but are less noticeable.

Here, the focus might shift more towards insulation and heating considerations, yet even a small decrease in energy use for cooling contributes to a home’s overall energy efficiency.

Light roof saves money with energy savings

Environmental Impact

On a larger scale, if every home in a city like Dallas, TX, switched to light-colored roofing, the cumulative effect could lead to a city-wide temperature reduction, mitigating the urban heat island effect.

This not only makes cities more comfortable during hot months but can also contribute to lowering pollution levels, as cooler air reacts less.

Considering Dallas, you will see a gradual increase in overall temperature 1.5°C over the 34 years, indicating a slow yet steady temperature rise.

Choosing a light color for the home or barndo can effectively help everyone both from personal & environmental aspects.

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Beyond Black and White: Innovations in Roofing

The conversation doesn’t end with just light vs. dark colors.

There are now modern innovations- “cool roofing” materials that are highly reflective.

The cool roofs use dark pigments designed to reflect infrared radiation in the opposite direction.

This means even darker roofs can now reject heat, offering more aesthetic flexibility without sacrificing comfort.

Eco friendly roofing for barndominium tax credit

Real-World Applications of Advanced Roofing:

  1. Energy Star Certified Roof Solutions:
    In the heart of Texas, where barndominiums are a common sight, residents are embracing Energy Star-certified roofing materials that combine the elegance of dark hues with high infrared reflectivity. A case in point is a barndominium near Dallas that has adopted such technology, leading to a significant drop in its cooling demands.
  2. Innovative Roof Coatings:
    In the sun-drenched state of Arizona, a dark roof with a layer of innovative cool roof coating helps reflect sunlight and keeps indoor cool.
  3. Asphalt Shingles with Reflective Properties:
    On the West Coast in California, a renovation project for a barndominium saw the introduction of asphalt shingles embedded with reflective particles. These not only keep the building’s aesthetic intact with their dark appearance but also elevate its ability to reflect solar energy.
  4. Dark Cool Roof Tiles:
    In the balmy climate of Florida, a newly built barndominium showcases the potential of dark-colored cool roof tiles. These tiles are crafted to reflect sunlight and emit heat more efficiently, proving that style and substance can coexist.
  5. Hybrid Solar Reflective Shingles:
    In the varied climate of Colorado, a barndominium has opted for hybrid solar reflective shingles. These are engineered to maintain a cooler roof by reflecting solar heat, offering an aesthetically pleasing solution that doesn’t compromise on thermal performance.

Reflecting on Cost: An Investment in Comfort

Switching to a reflective roof or choosing lighter materials might come with an upfront cost, often 5-10% higher than traditional options.

However, the return on investment through reduced cooling needs can recoup these costs, often within a few years.

Moreover, many states offer incentives or rebates for energy-efficient roofing, further offsetting the initial expenditure.

Here’s a quick comparison of roofing cost:

Traditional Roofing Materials:

  1. Asphalt Shingles:
    • Cost: $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot installed. Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of installation.
  2. Metal Roofing:
    • Cost: $7 to $12 per square foot installed. Metal roofs are durable and offer better energy efficiency than asphalt. They can last up to 50 years or more.
  3. Wood Shingles:
    • Cost: $4.50 to $9 per square foot installed. Wood offers a natural look but requires more maintenance and is not as fire-resistant as other materials.
  4. Clay Tiles:
    • Cost: $10 to $18 per square foot installed. Clay tiles are extremely durable and offer a unique aesthetic but can be quite heavy, requiring additional structural support.
  5. Concrete Tiles:
    • Cost: $8 to $12 per square foot installed. Concrete tiles are a less expensive alternative to clay tiles but still offer durability and a range of styles.

Advanced “Cool Roofing” Materials:

  1. Cool Roof Coatings:
    • Cost: $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot for the coating alone. This option involves applying a reflective coating to an existing roof, significantly improving its solar reflectance.
  2. Energy Star Rated “Cool” Asphalt Shingles:
    • Cost: $4 to $6.50 per square foot installed. These are specially designed asphalt shingles with higher solar reflectance.
  3. Advanced Metal Roofs (with special reflective coatings):
    • Cost: $9 to $15 per square foot installed. These metal roofs are treated with reflective pigments to enhance their ability to reflect sunlight.
  4. Reflective Membrane Roofing (for flat roofs):
    • Cost: $3 to $6 per square foot installed. This is ideal for barndominiums with flat or low-slope roofs, offering high solar reflectance.

The Bigger Picture: Sustainability and Future Trends

The move towards energy-efficient roofing is part of a larger trend towards sustainability.

As more individuals choose greener living choices, from solar panels to electric vehicles, the collective impact can lead to significant environmental benefits, including reduced demand on power grids and lower carbon emissions.

Conclusion: A Shade Smarter

Choosing the right color for your barndominium’s roof transcends mere aesthetics. It’s a decision that touches upon comfort, cost, and sustainability.

As we’ve explored, the implications are far-reaching, affecting not just individual homes but potentially whole communities.

By making informed choices, homeowners can contribute to a cooler, more sustainable future, all while enjoying a more comfortable living space and seeing real savings. Remember, when it comes to roofing, the right shade might just be the smartest choice you can make.

Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper

I'm Brian, an architectural engineer from the University of Texas

Writing about barndominium is my passion. I try to bring informative and technical contents on barndominium so that the entire sourcing and construction process seems easy.

As an architectural engineer, I do have expertise of designing and building using prefabricated steel structures. Moreover, I am connected with 500+ prefabricated steel structure experts that helps me to gather and prepare the relevant information for your help.

I have experience of 250+ barndominium contrustion of which 75% are built with metal structure. Moreover, I am a trained energy audit professional, and with that specialization I can help you to bring your barndo's energy consumption at minimum level.

I hope you like my write-ups which is my greatest inspiration.

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