Green, White or Solar Roof: Which Seattle Roofing Type is Best for Cold Climates?

seattle roofing

Some people do not just install traditional roofs on houses and buildings in Seattle. They want roofs that not only protect them from the elements like standard roofs but also provide additional utilities or functions. For these reasons, non-traditional roofing systems such as cool, green and solar roofs have become popular choices nowadays.

Each type of Seattle roofing has its own benefits as well as shortcomings. How do these roofs fare in cold climates? A study in the Journal of Industrial Ecology gave us the answer.

The study analyzed the effects of the three types of roof found on buildings located in different places with a cold climate. It used as models office buildings with large roofs and assumed a 50-year lifespan for the structures.

Solar Roofs Came Out on Top

The result showed solar roofs as the definite winner followed by green roofs and white roofs at the rear.

A comprehensive approach was adopted for the study, examining not only the energy efficiency created by the different roofs but also their manufacture, transportation and installation at the sites. The study also considered any toxic chemicals used in the manufacture and the effects of the roof types on air, water and human health.

Benefits of White Roofs

White roofs are great for hot weather because they significantly reduce the cooling requirements of buildings aside from prolonging their lifespan. However, in colder climates they actually raise the heating requirements especially during the long stretches of the cold months.

Green Roofs’ Contributions

Green roofs fared admirably because they lowered both the heating and cooling needs of buildings, enhance the quality of air and decrease storm water runoff.

Ultimately, however, solar roofs came out the best option for roofing in cold climates, creating the most impact in the categories considered for the study.

Positive Traits of Solar Roofs

  1. While unwanted emissions were created in the manufacture and transportation of solar roofs, these were more than offset by the positive effects of the on-site generation of power by solar roofs.
  2. The long-term use of solar energy is a major positive factor because it reduces the need for coal-powered energy and other fossil fuels by the buildings.
  3. By reflecting the sun’s heat, the solar panels reduced the temperatures of the buildings during the hotter months although they tend to slightly raise the heating needs during the colder months because of the reflectivity of the solar roofs.