Over the last decade, green roofs — that is, rooftops planted with living vegetation — have been touted for their environmentally friendly benefits. But while they certainly help prevent rainwater runoff and provide extra insulation, a new study shows that the sustainable rooftop garden might not be the best solution for fighting climate change.
Indeed, if you want to save energy and the earth, you should probably paint your roof blanc. A report published in the Energy and Buildings Journal found that white roofs are three times more effective than either green or black ones in combatting climate change. That's because they reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere instead of absorbing it, and therefore reduce interior temperatures of the rooms below.
In light of these new findings, we hope to see more buildings crowned in white. Until then, check out these projects in our database with white rooftops.
Like a boomerang, this sweeping white roof extends from the main structure to send excessive solar rays back into the atmosphere, preventing heat buildup inside the home.
In addition to integrated sustainable building practices—including floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light and cross-ventilation, water treatment for rainwater, and solar panels—this house in San Salvador features a white roof that was designed to give the house a “ready to fly” feel.
Not only does this smooth white stucco roof satisfy the client's desire for a "soaring" structure, it also shades interior rooms from the region's harsh sunlight, all while paying tribute to Miami's sleek style.
A shallow, white roof gives health enthusiasts another reason to pamper themselves at the striking thermal baths in Bad Ems, Germany.
When designing the new branch of the Pompidou Centre in Metz, Shigeru Ban found inspiration for the voluminous roof in a Chinese hat he found in a Parisian antique shop. Ban designed a hexagonal structure of bamboo to create the roof, which he covered in a white material that lends a billowing surface that also reflects sunlight.
The namesake of the Armadillo house comes from the structure's feeling of being armored from the elements — including the sun! Bonus: The distinct white roof also resembles the animal's head.
GRAFT's sweeping design for a service pavilion roof acts like a solar parasol that protects waiting customers from sunlight. It's also a bold design gesture.
Along with photovoltaic cells and recycled materials, the Pajol Sports Centre's gradient white façade and sculpted roof work together to create an overall sustainable structure that prevents heat buildup.