Saturday, June 13, 2009

White Roof Paint Can Help Reduce Global Warming

There is one effective way to reduce global warming that doesn't involve high technology, new technology or even any moving parts: painting rooftops white. This simple technique acts locally by reducing cooling costs, and globally by reflecting sunlight back into space.
Most people can grasp the idea intuitively, with one caveat: I have heard some ask whether the gains in lower cooling costs are offset by higher heating costs. As the
Washington Post reports, the benefits are clear as far north as the 49th parallel:
There is also the winter problem: In a cold climate, a dark roof can lower heating costs by soaking up the winter sun. White-roof advocates counter that, in the continental United States, the "winter penalty" is just 10 percent of the overall savings.
"As far north as Toronto, it pays," said Arthur H. Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission.
There are environmental problems that require that we balance competing interests, costs and benefits. But this one is easy. A modest investment in a few five gallon cans of reflective white paint can have a dramatic effect on summer cooling costs.

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