Light Colors Reduce Heat Gain
Exterior paint and roof color shades can promote energy efficiency, lowering your utility bills.
In summer, we work outdoors and exterior painting is a common summertime chore. If you have the ability to control the color of your home's exterior, consider painting in a lighter color. This is especially true if your region has particularly hot long summers.
If you live in a northern climate with harsh cold winters, then the opposite may prove to be better advice: paint exteriors in darker colors that absorb the sun's warmth and transfer some of that heat to the interior.
Roof shingle or tile colors also can make a big difference. Research suggests choosing the correct color for your roof can save up to 10 percent on energy costs. When it comes time to replace your roof, consult with your roofing contractor about colors and efficiency grades that may be available.
The U.S. government has studied the impact of roof types on energy efficiency.
A great resource for studying the relationship between roofing and energy efficiency and the environment is located on the National Roofing Contractor Association's website.
Where you live frequently determines your choices: In a townhouse, the homeowner's association makes decisions about color and roofing materials. If you live in an association-managed complex, there's no need to despair: The cost savings from choosing the right shade are not as great as other measures that you can take. For instance, it is of much greater importance -- in terms of energy efficiency and lowering utility bills -- that you first make sure your insulation is of the proper thickness or thermal resistance level. For more, check out the ENERGY STAR website on home sealing.