Yes. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu proposed the idea, which can potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 44 billion tons. That’s like taking all the cars in the world off the street for 18 years. California has taken the first step, mandating that all house roofs be “cool colored”. This alone can reduce carbon emissions 24 billion tons.
Hashem Akbari is a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California who is promoting the idea of white rooftops. By creating white rooftops, heat from the sun can be reflected instead of absorbed which could delay climate change and give us more time to reduce carbon emissions. Akbari also recommends that black pavement should be made a lighter color to reflect more heat. Typically compacted cities with large amounts of black rooftops and pavement absorb heat creating the urban heat island effect. Painting rooftops white would reduce the amount of heat a building absorbs and would require less energy for air conditioning. This is not a solution to climate change but a way of slowing down the impacts.
White roofs don’t necessarily combat global warming besides the fact that they decrease the temperature of the roof and building by reflecting more heat and light. This in turn would cut costs of cooling buildings and reduce the carbon print in various cities. However this idea should be implemented in conjunction with green roofs, that are designed by architects and builders to not only offset their negative impact on the environment but also to generate positive impacts. Green roofing practices include rooftop gardens, new technologies for reusing excess water and maintaining water in arid regions, constructing roofs that can eliminate run-off and cool the building through installation of plants or solar panels.
Check out greenroofs.com for more information and advocate for these types of practices in your city! Thanks!
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