The Biggest Mistake American Homeowners Make

The biggest mistake that 90% of American homeowners make is putting a dark colored shingle on their roof. Scientific studies conducted by the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the University of California Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory reveal that different color shingles absorb and reflect different amounts of heat.1 White shingles will conduct less and reflect more heat, whereas black shingles will contain and absorb the most heat.

Almost every consumer knows that black socks or dark shirts will absorb more heat versus lighter colors. Since most people realize this basic concept I have trouble comprehending why 90% of the buildings in our nation have dark colored roofs.  Scientists have acknowledged that most homeowners prefer a non-white roof color so they are developing cool color roofing products with reflective properties to help our nation become more energy efficient and preserve our atmosphere while pleasing the homeowner. However, a white colored roof is likely to always reflect more heat than a colored roof.

Roof heat transfer is the process of transferring the almost 200-degree roof temperatures into your attic. Attics can reach temperatures over 140 degrees. This heat creates moisture that falls to your attic floor on your insulation. This moisture causes your insulation to become less effective and this heat then sinks into your home. Insulation slows and prevents some of the heat transfer into your home but it never stops this heat transfer. This heat then causes you’re A/C unit to work. The hotter your roof gets, the harder and longer your air conditioning unit needs to run. The more your air-conditioning unit runs, the shorter it’s lifespan becomes. This causes us to use more electricity which causes us to need more fossil fuels which harm our atmosphere. The homeowner can obtain many benefits and also help our nation by limiting the roof heat temperature using a reflective roof coating.

A white roof will reflect more solar heat gain versus a black roof. Lawrence Berkley University has developed a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI), for different roof colors and materials and studies prove that white roof coatings reflect the most heat. Levinson, R., (2009), “Cool Roof Q & A (draft)” Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory. Retrieved from

Many people get very upset when the price of gasoline rises. Buildings use far more natural resources than our automobiles. If you conserve energy in your home it will have a direct effect on demand and prices for other petroleum products. Since there is an ever-increasing shortage of natural resources, prices will continue to reach higher. Our only choice is to consume less and constantly search for alternative energy.

If you are the manager of a business that has buildings you are doing a great disservice to our nation and your company by installing a dark colored roof. Your job is to save your business money. The more money you make for your business, the more money you will make. Dark colored tar roofs are petroleum- based so you are contributing to our demand for foreign oil. It is not only unwise it is un-American.

If you are the Grand Pu Ba of a homeowner association that insists every home in the neighborhood has a dark colored roof to match, you need to alter your antiquated by-laws. I like to think that environmentalist are leading the nation by example and informing others as well as themselves how to conserve our natural resources. They would gain a lot more credibility by doing so. Anti-war protesters should realize the war revolves around oil. If you sincerely want this war to subside you should do your part to prevent our dependence on other nations.

However, if you live in a primarily cold climate a dark colored roof may offer more benefits to the homeowner. Although an air conditioner uses a lot of electricity, a heater uses more electricity than any other product in a home. In 2011, Marc Fischer, who is an investigator and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory stated, “Although white roofs are advantageous in warm climates near the equator, reflecting solar radiation is not as beneficial in colder climates…”2 No lines have been drawn to indicate where the colder climates are, however, if you live in a climate where you use the heater to warm your home more than you use an air conditioner throughout the year, you may be better with a dark colored shingle.

To highlight the importance of the homeowner choosing a cool roof coating, in 2011, the former California Energy Commissioner, Art Rosenfeld and Distinguished Scientist Emeritus at Berkley  Laboratory stated, “If we whitened all possible urban roofs worldwide it would be equivalent to removing the carbon dioxide emissions of 300 million cars for 20 years.”3 So our choices of roof color can also affect our environment and make our nation a better place to live.

We have white shingles on our roof and this Spring I plan on putting a white elastomeric roof coating over the shingles to make our home more energy efficient and to help our environment. Roof shingles last 20-30 years and need to be replaced which causes a burden on our landfills. By putting on a reflective roof coating I will have to put another layer on every 10 years which is far cheaper and easier than replacing roof shingles. Asphalt roof shingles are made with petroleum products so the benefits to our nation by choosing a cool roof product are numerous.

Dale B. Adams formed Majestic Publishers in 2000, and is the author and self publisher of the new book, “Care Giving Made Easy – How to Be An Awesome Caregiver” Second Edition and the inventor of the, “Money Saving Calendar,” a new information vehicle that informs consumers how to save and make money every month of the year and the soon to be released, “How to Make Your Home Sell – Even In A Slow Market.” His many experiences include being a Security Consultant, General Contractor and Energy Conservation Specialist. To learn more valuable information visit:


1(2011), “Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the University of California” Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory

2    Tam, J., (2011), “Study looks into benefits of reflective roofs” Retrieved from

3Chen, A., (2011), “Scientists from Around the World Attend Berkley Workshop on Cool Roof Research” Retrieved  from