ICANZ supports SA Government’s black roof decision

The Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ) supports the South Australian (SA) government decision to crack down on “black roofs” in its $1 billion urban renewal project.

The Playford Alive housing development in Munno Para, a northern suburb of Adelaide, will be home to 40,000 people by 2027 and is one of the country’s largest urban renewal projects largely led by the SA government.

CEO of ICANZ Janine Strachan said, “This initiative of light-coloured roofs when coupled together with roof blankets and ceiling insulation will greatly improve the energy efficiency and comfort factor in these homes.”

Professor Sebastian Pfautsch of Western Sydney has called on other states to follow the lead of South Australia. “The decision to ban dark roofs outright must be replicated in Victoria and New South Wales where developers and consumers continue opting for materials that amplify urban heat. In a warming area this development puts lives at risk. During a heatwave, when all these dark- roofed suburbs will run their air conditioning systems, the high demand increases the risk of blackouts. And when the A/C goes occupants will be severely impacted by heat.”

“Appropriate selection of materials and colours combined with high-quality insulation are the low hanging fruit of climate-responsive urban design. Government, industry and homeowners all play a role in making our neighbourhoods cooler,” he said.

According to a report conducted by Seed Consulting in Adelaide’s north, light-roofed houses were 4.3 degrees cooler than average during the day, while dark roofed homes were 4.6 degrees hotter than average during the day.

The SA Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Nick Champion said the government had recognised that in the light of the data, The Playford Alive development represented a chance “to lead the way and encourage developers and builders to get on board with these more sustainable, energy-friendly measures.”

“It is imperative that we mitigate any potential urban heat island effect by implementing these changes now, as our infill is built up to meet housing demands,” he said.

Master Builders SA director of communications and policy, Kym Morgan said the peak building body will encourage private builders to get on board and steer consumers to light-coloured roofs.

Ms Strachan said, “Coupling light-coloured roofing with good solar access, roof blankets below tiles or metal roofing and insulation in the ceiling, walls and raised floors are the perfect companions to help you achieve energy efficiency in the home. With light coloured roofs and insulation on the roof and in the ceiling the heat entry from the hot summer sun will be drastically reduced whilst the heat loss in winter will also be reduced as insulation limits the movement of heat energy. Good levels of insulation in the walls will also help to reduce the penetration of the summer heat gained and lost via poorly insulated walls. Insulating subfloors will help to reduce entry and loss of heat through uninsulated flooring.”

Professor Sebastian Pfautsch of Western Sydney University added that light-coloured roofs not only reduce the cooling energy required to keep indoor spaces comfortable, but they also reduce outdoor temperatures. “If your entire suburb uses light- instead of dark-coloured roofs, your ambient air temperature can be 2 degrees cooler.”

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