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‘Cool roofing’ white roof trend grows in popularity in France

The practice involves painting your roof in a white paint mixture, which proponents say saves on energy bills, cuts temperatures by 6-7C, and eliminates the need for aircon for 20 years

A photo of a man painting outside white

Painting your roof (whether sloped or flat) can save big on energy bills Pic: Village photography / Shutterstock

‘Cool roofing’ – a practice in which homeowners paint their roofs white in a bid to cool down the temperature inside – is gaining popularity in France.

The practice is inspired by buildings such as the famous cliff houses in the Cyclades, which are entirely painted in white.

Proponents say that painting your roof white can: 

  • Cool down the interior temperature

  • Increase the longevity of the roof materials

  • Enable homeowners to save money on energy bills

The practice is become more well-known in France, especially from an eco-friendly position as a result of rising energy costs. A poll by online property website Drimki found that 55% of people in France are considering renovating their homes to become more eco-efficient as a priority.

‘Cool roofing’ is a term that comes from the US. It involves painting property roofs with reflective white paint. This means that the roof absorbs less heat and keeps cool air inside the property. 

Around 30% of energy leaks happen through normal roofs.

The painting also helps to maintain the roof materials for longer, as it protects them from damage caused by overheating.

According to Geoff Smith, a living roof expert from the University of Sydney, who spoke to The Guardian newspaper, a white roof can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s light.

French start-ups

In France, many start-ups are jumping on the trend, including Cool Roof France, and Energycool.

Cool Roof France is based in Finistère (Brittany). Its director Julien Martin-Cocher claims that its reflective paint treatment, a type of “pancake-like” paint mixture, can “reduce the temperature in a room by 6-7C”. 

Frédéric Lachèvre, president and founder of Cool Roof, said: “With three coats of reflective paint, you can go without air conditioning for 20 years.”

The mixture is made with paint, baking soda, casein, and marble dust, he told Ouest France.

Mr Martin-Cocher added that “his goal is to spread this recipe so that people can do it at home, and move towards an eco-friendly transition. It will cost an individual a maximum of €3 per square metre, depending on the shops used”.

The practice is not only for individual homes either; in Nimes, the Carrefour supermarket has painted its roof white, and installed solar panels too. In Quimper, the E.Leclerc supermarket said it had saved €20,000 in electricity costs by doing the same.

Painting it white is not the only way to reap the benefits of an eco-friendly roof, however. Installing a ‘living roof’, covered in plants, is another means. This method offers thermal isolation, as the plants act as a sort of protective screen against the sun. 

Related articles

CEE: France’s home renovation grant for main and second homes  
The eco-friendly French family preparing to live 'off-grid' 
Shopping, driving, home: What France’s new climate law would change 
France’s first low-cost 'flat pack' wooden house under construction

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