The global fight against climate change is an overwhelming challenge, so it makes sense to start pick the lowest hangng fruit first. While the slow wheels of politics and legislation creep forward, we can do the simple things that make a difference today.
A new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that using roofs that are white or light instead of black or dark significantly reduces heat absorption, which decreases emissions from energy-hungry air conditioning systems. It also lowers the ambient temperatures in a urban area, chilling the urban heat island effect.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "Cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions and begin the hard work of slowing climate change." According to the study, if all eligible urban roofs in the tropical and temperate parts of the world were converted to white it would create an emission savings equal to taking all of the world's cars (300 million) off the road for 20 years. That is a massive change. Sure, the exact numbers are debatable, but there's no question that switching to white roofs is something that should have been done a long time ago. It saves building owner's money and it saves the environment. Who knew a white roof could be so cool?
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo via Smart Power