Dark coloured roofs on newly constructed homes are set to become a thing of the past in New South Wales, state Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced last week.
Addressing the Committee for Sydney, Mr Stokes revealed that it’s the NSW Government’s
intention to introduce a policy change, whereby newly built houses will have to be constructed with light coloured roofs.
The Government’s plan is to deliver more sustainable housing and reach a goal of zero net emissions by 2050 and by banning dark roofs, Sydney’s ambient temperatures would be reduced considerably.
A recent study by the University of New South Wales indicated that an average 2.4 degree drop in ambient temperatures is likely if this radical plan to prohibit the use of dark coloured roofing materials goes ahead.
The Minister added that there are no valid reasons why dark roofing on new homes shouldn’t be banned and that he would be directing his department to implement the changes as part of the Government’s Net Zero Cities approach.
“We need to ensure that future communities living in Sydney’s west (ie, the suburbs furthest from the coast) don’t experience the same urban heat that many communities do now,” Minister Stokes said.
“The cost of us not acting now will have far greater consequences in the future than any costs incurred in the short term.”
Data collected over the past decade or so certainly indicates that light coloured roofs are the way to go in locations where residents suffer through periods of oppressive heat.
In 2014, The Fifth Estate website reported: “Research conducted shows that light coloured roof tiles can lower the air temperature in the roof space by up to nine degrees.”
Given the availability of this type of data and the fact that we all learned during high school physics classes (whether we are now 15 or 50 years old) that dark coloured surfaces invariably absorb a lot more heat energy than light coloured surfaces, it begs the question: why do most newbuilds that we see driving around Sydney at this point in time usually have dark roofs?
Richard Dargham, director of Yes I Can Renovations – one of Australia’s fastest growing and most innovative building company – specialising in quality bathroom, kitchen and full home renovations, said this week: “This announcement by the Planning Minister that dark roofs will no longer be allowable on newbuilds in NSW is definitely welcome news and long overdue.
“A schoolkid could tell you that dark roofs absorb more heat, making hundreds and thousands of homes in Sydney unbearably hot during summer.
“I know there’s a perception that darker roofs blend in better with landscapes but let’s get real for a minute…and if the government wants to have any chance of reaching its target of zero net emissions by 2050, then banning dark roofs on newly constructed homes is a no-brainer.”