Surprising Ways Home Color can Save You Money
Energy efficiency has never looked so good! These gorgeous designer homes demonstrate the cooling effects of color selection on your energy bill.
It’s basic, well-documented science – light colors reflect, dark colors absorb. So it makes sense that this same principle would apply to your home, and it does. According to the Department of Energy (DOE) dark colors can absorb 70 to 90 percent of the sun’s radiant energy. Not surprising, this energy when transferred to the home causes cooling costs to rise.
LIGHT ROOF PROJECT
About a third of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through the roof. Light and, if you are so bold, white roofs can reflect between 50 and 90 percent of sunlight. According to the White Roof Project this can lead to summertime energy savings of between 10 and 40 percent.
Get this look: Siding - Cedar Impressions® Single 7” Straight Edge Perfection Shingles with CedarLife™ Color Technology in Cedar Blend; Trim- Vinyl Carpentry®, Colonial White; Roof - Landmark®, Silver Birch; Shutter color - Isle of Pine by Sherwin Williams (similar)
COOL YOUR ROOF
If you don’t like the look of a white or light roof or don’t feel it is a good fit with your neighborhood, another option to consider is a cool roof. The DOE defines a cool roof as one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. A cool roof under the same conditions can be more than 50°F cooler than a standard roof. Cool roofs come in a variety of colors including traditional gray, tan and brown.
KEEP IT BRIGHT
The principles of light absorption can be applied inside as well. Dark walls absorb more light than white walls meaning dark rooms require more electricity to light. Not an insignificant consideration, seeing the Environmental Protection Agency reports that electric lighting accounts for 12% of the electricity used in homes.
FIND YOUR BEACH
Another benefit of a light room in a warm climate is perception. Tests show that people estimate the temperature of a room with cool colors, such as blues and greens, to be 6-10°F cooler than the actual temperature. By contrast warm colors, such as reds and oranges, are perceived to be 6-10°F warmer.
REFLECT ON YOUR COLOR CHOICE
So you’re ready to make some energy saving color decisions but not sure if this taupe is more or less reflective than that beige? Most major paint manufacturers can tell you the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of a color. White reflects 80% of the light, black 5%. Therefore, the higher the LRV number of the paint color, the less artificial light you will need.
Another idea, albeit for more long term savings, add some green in the way of trees. According to the Arbor Day Foundation planting the right trees in the right places conserves energy and reduces your energy bills and they look pretty too.
Get this look: Siding – Cedar Impressions® Single 7” Straight Edge Perfection shingles, Driftwood blend; Trim – Restoration Millwork®, Natural White; Accent paint - White