If you can ignore all the leaves on the roof, you will notice how white it is. That’s because we just had an elastomeric coating applied. It preserves the roof from those tiny cracks that grow into leaks and end up making you call a roofer. The last roof we put on cost $14,000. Getting a new flat roof put on could drive you into bankruptcy. But while we’re trying to put off by ten years the need for a new roof–or indefinitely, if we reapply the elastomere every 7-10 years–we’re also saving on our cooling bills and helping the environment. As the arctic ice melts, the world will need more white roofs to reflect sunlight. And this roof is highly reflective. It’s rated to reflect up to 88 percent of the sun’s heat, whereas black roofs can absorb up to 85 percent of the sun’s heat.

When Jill Miller of White Caps, Green Collars did the work on our house last week, she said she’d been on a black roof recently when the temp was around seventy and it was too hot to touch. So cities that are seas of these heat absorbing roofs are going to need a new look in the coming decades, the white look. Nobel laureate and Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, is advocating for white roofs on all buildings and for light colored pavement, not only in our country but worldwide.

Obviously, we won’t see any energy savings for quite a few months, but I wanted the roof protected from winter weather. And when summer rolls around, I expect to save 20-50 percent on our cooling bills.

Expect the look of flat roofs in cities all over the world to change in the coming decades.