Choosing the best exterior colours for an energy-efficient home

Choosing a colour palette for the elevation of your new home is one of the most important – and hardest – decisions you will make when it comes to building a house.

Aside from aesthetics and how your house will look from the street, it’s important to consider how choosing the right colours for the exterior can help reduce energy bills in the long-term.

Here are a few tips to help you decide the best exterior colour palette to make your home as comfortable and energy-efficient as possible.


Wall colours and exterior paintwork

If your new, energy-conscious home will be located in a warm climate, light-coloured walls are ideal. Whilst darker colours are better at maintaining heat, a light exterior will help your home stay cooler in summer by reflecting heat.

With dark coloured exterior walls having the tendency to absorb up to 90% of the radiant energy from the sun, a light and bright exterior colour scheme has a big impact on indoor comfort, particularly for those living in the Southern hemisphere at the height of summer.

The best colours to use for exterior walls are white, light grey, beige or other light-coloured neutrals. Neutral shades give universal appeal, and are the preferred choice for numerous homes as it complements many different roof colours and doesn’t date. In addition, light-coloured exteriors not only give a clean, fresh appearance to a home, it also makes it look bigger and more appealing than a darker colour might.

The Seascape Display Home by Smart Homes for Living -  light and fresh exterior colours.

The Seascape Display Home by Smart Homes for Living – boasting light and fresh exterior colours.

Roof colours

Much like exterior walls, choosing a light to medium coloured roof is ideal for houses in warm climates where air conditioning costs are high all year around.

With the choice of roof playing a major role in how inviting a home looks from the street, it’s equally important to think about how the roof you put on your home plays a big part in saving energy costs.

About a third of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through the roof so it makes practical and economic sense to reflect the heat with one that is light-coloured. Recent studies have shown that a white, mid-grey, or steel roof can have approximately 30% lower heat gain than a dark roof, as they will absorb less of the sun’s heat.

A mid-grey coloured roof, for example, will reflect a lot of heat but causes less glare than a very light colour. It can also reduce the amount of insulation (and air conditioning) needed to cool the home, therefore giving you some major cost savings.

The Exceed Display Home by Smart Homes for Living -

The Exceed Display Home by Smart Homes for Living – featuing mid-grey coloured roof.

Accent colours

If you’ve decided to have a light-coloured roof and neutral main walls, consider saving stronger shades as accent colours for shutters, pipes, guttering, or window frames. Coloured accents can add character to a house exterior as well as being easily repainted in future to suit changing tastes.

It might also be a good idea to use a colour wheel (which you can obtain from a paint shop or online) to ensure the colours you’ve chosen complement each other, in order to balance visual appeal with energy-efficiency.

The Exemplar Display Home by Smart Homes for Living -

The Exemplar Display Home by Smart Homes for Living – featuring a red accent colour.

Other things to consider

Whilst the above considerations can assist in making a smart colour choice for the elevation, it’s important to think about the overall look of your neighbourhood. The right colour palette for the exterior of your home should complement (but not match) other homes on the same street, reflecting the general trends of nearby properties. If you’re planning to sell your house at a later date, it’s always better to choose visually-appealing colours which complement the architecture and style that typifies the local area.

Take a look at Smart Homes for Living Displays for more inspiration. 

Author: Smart Homes for Living

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