"We often think of color as a strictly aesthetic choice, but the realities of sun exposure, climate, weather and heat absorption mean your selected color is likely to have a myriad of impacts other than its level of beauty."

Star Building Systems

March 23, 2022


by Star Building Systems

Color Coordinating: A Guide to Color Considerations

One of the most exciting parts of any project is choosing your color scheme. Imagining a new building in a variety of colors can set your imagination free and bring the project that much closer to reality. But before you get too far down the color selection road, we want to help you understand a few things. While it’s true that we can manufacture your metal components in virtually any color under the sun – and create perfect matches to brand colors – that doesn’t mean any color is an excellent choice. There are important considerations to be aware of before you land on your final hue. 

More Than Skin-Deep 

We often think of color as a strictly aesthetic choice, but the realities of sun exposure, climate, weather and heat absorption mean your selected color is likely to have a myriad of impacts other than its level of beauty. Darker colors can lead to increased solar gain, therefore creating hotter buildings and higher energy bills. Lighter, more reflective colors help maintain cooler temperatures, but can also cause problems with reflectivity and glare. Further, there may be local regulations and restrictions that limit your choices. 


These considerations may seem restrictive and complex, so we’ll explore each of them to help you get a better handle on the situation. 


Energy efficiency and sustainability are two of the most important aspects of any new construction project – not just because you care about the environment and conserving natural resources, but also because local codes and regulations often require a certain level of energy performance. The Cool Roof Rating Council was established to identify and choose colors which help keep buildings cool.  


Keep Your Cool 

Exterior walls and roofs are exposed to the powerful light of the sun all day every day, which can cause those surfaces to heat up more than 170°F. A cool-colored roof can really make a difference. Simply by selecting a cool color, it’s possible to drop the temperature of a wall by 50° – often resulting in a 7-15% reduction in heating and cooling bills. 


The Cool Roof Rating Council’s website is an excellent resource when considering color choices, with helpful information regarding the solar reflectivity performance of many assorted color choices. Cool colors are especially important for flat and low-slope roofs, which tend to trap heat in the air above them, while steeper pitches encourage air movement. 


It’s not just a clever idea to pick a cool color for your roof. In some places, it’s mandatory. The state of California, for instance, won’t issue a building permit unless you are using colors that are listed by the Cool Roof Rating Council. Hawaii has introduced cool color requirements for walls as well. 


Go White to Go Green? 

You might be thinking, “Okay, no problem. I’ll get a reflective white roof.” While that would reflect a lot of light and heat off your building, it can cause other problems. Many times, there are glare restrictions around airports, and highly reflective buildings can cause blinding glare. HOAs and local building regulations may also place restrictions on color choice, sometimes even limiting your ability to get a building permit. 


Your Guiding Star 

As regulation becomes more a part of our lives, and specifically a part of the construction process, colors have a large effect on the energy solutions and what is being regulated in your area. Star can help you navigate this situation.  


Finish Up 

Understanding the finish formulas is another important area of color selection. Signature® 200, a siliconized polyester (SMP), is the standard finish for Star Products. It is a high-performing finish, available in just about any color you choose. One step up from that is Signature® 300, a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) product. Also known as Kynar 500® or Hylar 5000®, the Signature® 300 series is chosen for even longer lasting, anti-chalking and fade-resistant characteristics.  


Color Your World 

Now that you understand more of the nuance of color selection, and the surprising ways color might affect your project schedule, energy efficiency and permitting, it’s time to choose the one that’s right for you. You may want your building to blend in with the surrounding neighborhood, natural features or the area. Or perhaps you want it to pop against that background. The key is to envision what your color choices will actually look like in reality. To do that well, you need real-life samples in your hands. 


While it’s fine to use your phone or computer to make initial color selections online, it’s crucial to use actual samples and color chips when narrowing down your options because different web browsers, phones and screens display colors very differently. The best bet is to request color charts. Simply contact us and we’ll get you the color chart you need, whether it’s architectural, commercial or something else. But remember that simply printing off these PDFs will not provide you with an exact color. Colors can appear very differently depending on the light source. 


Free Samples 

The actual color on the color charts is applied to paper, but there is also a primer applied, which creates a sample that’s similar to the final product. From this, narrow it down to a few top choices and then request color chips. These are actual samples of the selected color on a 3×5 index-card-sized piece of metal.  


Remember, we are happy to work with you to get you precisely what you need. Just get in touch with your friendly Star representative. 

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