What Color Is Your Roof?

Black roofs are passe. Learn about white, blue, and green roofs.

architectural design, residential design, stormwater, urbanism


Karen Blanchard


Talia Manning


Anna Ishii

Sick of the boring black asphalt coating your flat roof? Check out these new fashionable colors that can also improve your roof’s effects on the environment and your wallet.

White roofs are cool! Best used in climates with longer cooling than heating days, their reflectivity helps reduce the amount of heat that reaches the inside of the building, reducing the need for air conditioning. A white membrane roof also reduces the heat island effect in urban areas, decreases carbon dioxide, and more noticeably lessens your energy bill. Silver roofs perform in a comparable way, created from an applied coating bonded to an asphalt roof.

Blue roofs are designed to intentionally hold water, which can be reused for irrigation below or held temporarily to regulate storm water runoff flow.

Green roofs are alive! Vegetative roof soaks up rainwater through living plants, alleviating demands on storm water systems below. Green roofs grow to be insulators on buildings, reducing needs for both heating and cooling. The local air temperature is also moderated, reducing the heat island effect and air pollutants. Most impressively, they provide a source of habitat and are beautiful to look at! Thinking about a green roof? Check out WRT’s recently completed Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Green Roof project.