The color of your walls affects the absorption of heating and cooling in your house.
People choose the color of their walls for many different reasons. Sometimes they choose light colors to make a space look larger, or something bright to make it more “cheery.” But not many homeowners realize how color affects the efficiency of their HVAC system if planned for properly. The color of your walls affects the absorption of heating and cooling in your house, so being mindful of that when decorating is important – not just for aesthetic appeal, but also to keep your house comfortable all year long.
How Colors Affect Your Energy Costs
Dark colors absorb as much as 70-90% of the radiant energy in a room. The means that darker rooms will stay warmer for longer if you allow the sunshine in during the day. Lighter colors do not have the same effect if you leave the windows open and let the sunshine in. Light colors reflect heat, so if you want your bedroom to stay cozy on a winter’s night, then dark is the way to go. If you want it to be cool on a hot summer’s day, then the lighter the better.
It is All about Location
In rooms that are not exposed to direct sunlight or that are shaded heavily, radiant heat is not a factor. If there are few windows, then the color of the walls makes very little difference. But if it is a small space, dark colors will make it feel even smaller. If you want to make a room appear more grand, lighter colors will make it appear larger. Lighter colors are also more inviting and make people feel welcome. If you do have a lot of sunshine, then when you want to keep the room cool and you also opted for dark colors, just make sure to cover up the windows with blackout shades.
Mix and Match Colors
If you like the feel of a bright room but want to use radiant energy to your advantage, then consider using one wall – the one that is exposed to the sunshine – as an accent wall. This way you can have the engaging “welcoming” feeling of bright colors along with the heat absorption of the dark painted accent wall.
If You are Only about Light Colors
If you are into light colors and can’t be swayed by the energy advantages of dark ones, then you don’t have to be. Light colors allow you to use fewer manufactured lights because you don’t have to turn the lights on in the room until nighttime. You can’t do that with a dark room, so that is one factor that will save you in overall energy costs.
So before you get busy decorating, realize that the color of the room isn’t just about aesthetics. If you plan it right according to the space it provides and the direct sunshine that you have to build from, you just might choose the right color to increase your HVAC efficiency.