White roofs to fight global warming? Locals weigh in - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

White roofs to fight global warming? Locals weigh in

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By Chuck Weber email

DELRAY BEACH, FL (WFLX)-White roofs as a way to fight global warming? The nation's new energy secretary recently talked up the idea, along with white road surfaces and white cars.

The Energy Department says a white roof can drop a building's electric bill 10 to 20 percent. Delray Beach roofer Tim Graboski says lighter tiles and shingles definitely reflect more than darker ones.

But are South Florida homeowners jumping on the white roof bandwagon? Graboski says energy awareness is increasing among customers, but aesthetics still rule their decisions.

"Some people say they want a roof tile that has a higher energy rating," says Graboski. "But I don't see us moving towards a complete white roof, white walls, white everything." Graboski says more attic insulation can help offset the installation of darker tiles common in popular Mediterranean home designs.

"I hadn't given it much thought," said Boca Raton homeowner Norm Engel, who has a white roof. "I painted and sealed the roof when I moved into the house three and a half years ago. We noticed a difference" in the electric bill, he said.

If you want more efficiency than even a white roof can offer, why not try roof tiles made of solar photovoltaic material. Graboski offers the product and has installed it on several local roofs. "If your roof also makes electricity for you, you're completing the package," he said. Solar tiles are much more expensive, but homeowners are eligible for state rebates and federal tax credits.

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