Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 12:54PM
A study released by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that painting roofs and pavements light colors can have a substantial effect on global warming. In fact, the study found that implementing “cool” roofs and pavements in cities around the world could decrease greenhouse gases by 1.2 gigatons per year—which would be equivalent to removing 300 million cars from the road for 20 years.
Since white roofs reflect more of the sun’s heat than black ones do, buildings with white roofs stay cooler. These buildings require less air conditioning and also keep the city at large cooler.
In light of the study, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a series of initiatives at the Department of Energy to implement cool roof technologies on DOE facilities and buildings across the federal government. As part of the effort to make the federal government more energy efficient, Chu has directed all DOE offices to install cool roofs, whenever cost effective over the lifetime of the roof. Chu has issued a letter to the heads of other federal agencies, encouraging them to take similar steps at their facilities.