White roofs have a ‘green’ side

White “hats” like this one on the MINI Cooper S are not just fashion statements, they also offer energy-saving benefits.


There seem to be more and more of them around. Wherever you turn these days it’s not hard to spot a vehicle wearing a white hat.

White roofs are brightening up the automotive landscape and the reasons aren’t purely cosmetic. White roofs can be found on the funky MINI’s colour palette, as well as that of Toyota’s FJ Cruiser and the upcoming Ford Flex. Each has carved out a unique look for itself based on the white roof treatment. But the reality is there are energy-saving benefits to the idea, too. Think of desert wardrobes or Greek buildings: white reflects the sun’s rays better than any other colour.

So, while a white roof can help a car look “cool,” its real benefit is heating and cooling. Less power is required to keep a car cool if it has a white roof.

Perhaps it’s time for image-savvy and eco-savvy car designers to make all their vehicle roofs standard in white, the better to bounce sun rays back and reduce the air conditioning load.

While the white roof story isn’t something that’s being pushed in the marketplace yet, despite its “green” benefits, maybe it’s time other carmakers got in on the trend. It’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t.

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