7 Ways to Cool Your Roof for a Hotter Climate

Photo by Tommy Kwak on Unsplash
  1. Paint the roof a light colour. A light roof maximises how much of the Sun’s energy is reflected, also known as the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI). Where an SRI of 0 is black and absorbs all energy and 100 is completely reflective, a flatter roof should be at least SRI 64 or better.
  2. Install sarking under your roof. This is the reflective foil sheeting you often see used in construction. It’s great at preventing heat from moving through it and also prevents moisture transfer.
  3. Install thermal insulation in the roof space. Typically laid over your ceiling structure and easily retrofitted without touching the roof cladding itself.
  4. Install a roof vent. These let the hot air out of your roof space. Can be installed as a vent in a gable end or as a spiral vent on the roof. These are highly effective and work harder the hotter it gets. Easy to retrofit.
  5. Add solar panels. While solar panels are converting some of the Sun’s energy to green electrons for you they also shade your roof. Lighter roofs also improve solar panel output, so if you do everything above you’ll be making some valuable adaptations.
  6. Replace the roof. More common than you might imagine for older housing stock. Use lighter colour roofing, and while you’re at it also install thermal insulation and include solar panels.
  7. Install a green roof. I’d consider this the most comprehensive move and for an existing building can often require a new roof structure and drainage system. Some existing buildings can cater for a lightweight green roof. I’ll leave the details of this option for another time, but suffice to say the green roof genre is rapidly growing (sorry). Things get even more interesting when we add solar panels to a green roof — but I’ll save that exciting one for later too.
The Adaptive Value Matrix (Digby Hall)




Climate adaptation architect, striving to help tackle climate change through positive adaptation. Think. Move. Act.

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Digby Hall

Digby Hall

Climate adaptation architect, striving to help tackle climate change through positive adaptation. Think. Move. Act.

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