Cool Exterior Colors and Home Cooling Costs

Cool Exterior ColorsEven a cold-weather state can have its share of sweltering Summer days.  The air conditioner must work overtime sometimes during the Dog Days of Summer and the energy bills border on astronomical.  If you want to give your A/C and your wallet a break, it seems the only way to cool off is to jump into a pool, or go to a movie theatre or spend the day at the mall.

Passive cooling

Most people are aware that there are ways to keep the house cooler in the Summer besides just running the air conditioning continually.  The use of blinds on the inside windows helps keep the hot sun from infiltrating the inside of the house through the window panes.  Outside shutters may be closed and even planting large shade trees will help.  The use of light-colored roofing materials instead of dark-colored, or abandoning asphalt shingles in favor of light-colored natural stone, will quickly stop the roof from drawing the heat like a magnet to your rooftop and is beneficial to keeping your house several degrees cooler as well.  After all, you shuck off all your dark-colored duds and reach for those white and tropical colors during the warm-weather days, so your house should follow the same principle.  All the methods for thwarting the heat mentioned above are examples of passive cooling.

But, did you know that the paint color of your home, just like a dark-colored roof, can actually attract the rays of the sun?  You probably don’t want your home to be a magnet for the sun’s rays so it would certainly behoove you to paint or install siding in a light-colored shade.  On a plus note, dark-colored painted homes (defined as those painted in shades of black, blue, dark purple or wine), in cold-weather states such as this one, actually absorb the heat better, thus making its occupants feel warmer in the Winter time, so the thermostat was not set as high.  There are some minor maintenance issues, however, with a dark-colored home in a cold-weather state.  The sun beating down day after day will cause your dark-colored home to fade much faster and will be prone to moisture freezing during the cool and cold months.

Finally, light-colored homes will make a house design look much larger, whereas dark-colored paint jobs will make a medium-sized home look cozier.

Lose the dark colors

As suggested above, painting your home a light color will save you some big bucks on your energy bill throughout the entire warm-weather seasons.  Not only will you be reaping benefits, but you will be reducing your carbon footprint since air conditioners can use up to 1/6th of U.S. electricity and, on hot Summer days, consume 43% of the U.S. peak power load.  Now, please note that the Department of Energy has computed the fact that homeowners’ heating and cooling systems emit over a half billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, adding to global warming.  I’ll bet a prudent person like yourself would like to learn how to paint your home to work with the elements.  Why not contact a residential painter in Morristown to see what home colors would be most beneficial for you?

Reflective coatings cut cooling costs

Home Cooling CostsA common misconception is that it is the dark color itself which acts like a magnet for the sun’s strong ways.  It is not merely because dark colors grab the sun’s rays and absorb more heat, but it is the ability of dark colors to absorb light that makes them hotter.  Dark colors absorb much more heat than lighter colors because they absorb more light energy.  The darker the color, such as pure black, causes it to absorb light from light sources.  The key is that colors do not absorb different amounts of heat, only heat from light.  Dark clothes reflect little solar light, they reflect little solar heat and are hotter as a result.

Understand the color spectrum

Colors that are “bright” are termed such as they reflect back.  Visual light is composed of numerous different-colored wavelengths which make a white light when combined. Therefore light colors such as pastel yellows or pinks are perceived as colors light wavelengths and are reflected back to our eyes.  No heat is absorbed.  Shiny colors, on the other hand, are able to reflect significant amounts of light and heat compared to flat colors.

Darker colors can reflect most heat they are exposed to if they have a reflective sheen. The heat absorption hierarchy of colors will always remain if all other factors are equal.  As illustrated above, a shiny deep blue will still absorb more heat than a shiny yellow.  Black or dark colors absorb and retain much energy from the sun’s rays.  The energy never completely disappears, so the heat must be emitted somehow and it thus casts off a warm glow.

Black therefore becomes the culprit for attracting and absorbing the heat and is the exact opposite of white as to wavelengths.  White light is the sum of all wavelengths.  If people view a  white object, they really are seeing all visible light hitting the object’s surface and reflecting back.  Although some heat is still absorbed based on the nature of the object’s material, a minimal amount of heat is absorbed, making white the coolest color.