Classification of COLORBOND® steel colours for NCC and BASIX

Classification of COLORBOND® steel colours for NCC and BASIX

On hot sunny days, light coloured (low solar absorptance) roofing material commonly keeps cooler than darker coloured (high solar absorptance) roofing material. To recognise the cooling benefit of lower solar absorptance roofing, some building regulations have incorporated it as an energy efficiency design parameter. Lower solar absorptance roofing qualifies for a roof insulation concession under prescriptive regulation in most climate zones in Australia1 . Alternatively, choosing low solar absorptance roofing lowers the calculated cooling (when using building verification software for compliance) which may help achieve higher performance or lower building costs2.

BlueScope has provided solar absorptance values and NCC and BASIX classifications for 22 standard colours of COLORBOND® steel as well as for COLORBOND® steel Matt, COLORBOND® Metallic steel and more. Please refer to the COLORBOND® steel colours page for a complete list of the values.

Colour Classification in Accordance with the NCC3

The National Construction Code (NCC) has classified roof colours based on their solar absorptance, as Light (L < 0.40), Medium (M < 0.60) and Dark (D > 0.60).

Colour Classification in Accordance with the New South Wales BASIX

The New South Wales Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX) has also classified colour into Light, Medium and Dark based on their solar absorptance, however, the range of values varies to that of the NCC. The BASIX classification is Light (L < 0.475), Medium (M < 0.7) and Dark (D > 0.7) categories.

Solar Absorptance (SA)

The classification of colours in both the NCC and BASIX is based on solar absorptance (SA). SA is the proportion of the total incident solar radiation that is absorbed by the roofing material (the remainder is reflected) and is expressed as a ratio between 0 and 1. A roof with a lower solar absorptance will reflect more heat than a roof with a higher solar absorptance and may keep the roof space and dwelling cooler on a hot day4.

For further information please refer to:


Source: BlueScope media release

The statements, information and opinions quoted in this article are provided by the featured supplier/source and reflect the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of BlueScope Steel Limited. BlueScope Steel Limited does not warrant the accuracy or currency of the article and is not responsible or liable for content provided by third parties.

  1. See NCC Volume Two Energy Efficiency Provisions 2016 Third Edition
  2. Higher performance or lower building costs are not guaranteed in all circumstances, the final outcome will also depend on other build factors.
  3. NCC classification is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change. Check your local state building regulations at the time of your project.
  4. Results will depend on roof colour, level and location of insulation, type and location of building shape and function.