If you’ve got a dark roof, you’re spending almost $700 extra a year to keep your house cool

18 June 2024

If you visit southern Greece or Tunisia, you might notice lots of white rooftops and white buildings to reflect the intense heat and keep residents cooler.

It’s very different in Australia. New housing estates in the hottest areas around Sydney and Melbourne are dominated by dark rooftops, black roads and minimal tree cover. Dark colours trap and hold heat rather than reflect it. That might be useful in winters in Tasmania, but not where heat is an issue.

A dark roof means you’ll pay considerably more to keep your house cool in summer. Last year, the average household in New South Wales paid A$1827 in electricity. But those with a lighter-coloured cool roof can pay up to $694 less due to lower cooling electricity needs. Put another way, a dark roof in Sydney drives up your power bill by 38%.

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