Impact of single ply roofing colour on building performance

Single ply roofing is a popular choice for commercial and residential buildings across the country due to its durability, flexibility, and ease of installation. One often overlooked aspect of single ply roofing is the variety of colour options available. But what is the impact of single ply roofing colour on building performance? And what should you consider when choosing a single ply membrane colour?


What is the impact of single ply roofing colour on building performance?

When it comes to choosing a colour for single ply roofing, there are several factors to consider. The most obvious consideration is aesthetics. The colour of the roofing membrane can significantly affect the overall appearance of the building. As a result, neutral colours are often selected to complement the building’s design and surrounding environment. However, the choice of colour for single ply roofing goes beyond aesthetics, as this can have a significant impact on building performance. This is multifaceted and can include:

  •  Solar reflectance and heat absorption
  •  Longevity and maintenance
  •  Urban heat island effect


Solar reflection and heat absorption

Energy efficiency is one of the most important considerations for any building construction, and the colour of the single ply roofing can make a big difference to thermal efficiency due to solar reflection.

Because the roof of your property is exposed constantly to the sun’s rays, solar reflectance can be important. This is a term that refers to the amount of the sun’s energy that will be reflected away from the roof. A roof that offers a high level of solar reflectance will reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the sun’s rays, helping to improve thermal efficiency. Lighter coloured roofing membranes, such as white or light grey, often provide a higher level of solar reflectance than darker roof colours. As a result, buildings with lighter single ply membranes may have a lower cooling load in the summer months, which means that less energy will be needed to cool the property in the summer months. With UK temperatures rising, this can be very important for future proofing the energy efficiency of your building.

On the other hand, darker coloured roofing membranes, like black, will absorb more solar energy, which can be beneficial in colder climates, as this can lead to higher heat absorption in the winter months.
Ultimately, the choice of roofing colour should be considered in line with the specific climate of the location and the building’s energy requirements.


Single ply roofing colour and longevity

In addition to solar reflectance and energy efficiency, the colour of your single ply roofing can also influence the longevity of your roof. For example, darker membrane colours can experience more thermal expansion and movement over time than lighter colours. This can lead to increased wear and tear, potentially reducing the lifespan of your single ply roof. In contrast, lighter coloured roofing, by reflecting more sunlight and heat, tends to experience fewer temperature-related stresses.


Urban heat island effect and single ply roofing colour

Urban heat island effect is becoming a bigger problem for built up areas. This is where urban areas experience higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas due to human activities and heat-absorbing surfaces. With many buildings absorbing heat and releasing this, the temperature in a built up area can be several degrees hotter than it should be, making daily activities harder in the summer. The effect of this can be mitigated by choosing lighter coloured roofing materials. This helps to reduce the overall heat buildup in urban areas and contributes to a more sustainable and comfortable environment.


For more information or advice about your single ply roofing colour, get in touch with the professionals today, here at Enviroply Roofing.