Monday, September 19, 2011

Economic Stimulus? Lighter Roofs Could Enable $1B Annual Savings and Produce More Jobs

Similar to how ice and snow reflects UV rays instead of absorbing the heat like oceans do, cities are now giving white roofs a second look as a way to cool cities and fight climate change. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Climate Change Research Conference advised that if buildings and road surfaces in 100 of the largest cities in the U.S. were covered with lighter and heat-reflective surfaces similar to those from Conklin the savings could be massive, as roofs account for 25% and pavement accounts for 35% of surface area in cities.

Some states are more progressive than others. California, for example, has required white roofs on commercial buildings since 2005, and since 2009 that all new and retrofitted residential and commercial buildings with both flat and sloped roofs have to install heat-reflecting roofing. Painting flat roofs white is fairly easy, but sloped roofs are more difficult which is why they will be allowed to just install "lighter" roof surfaces. Lighter or metal roofs also help to lower electricity costs by reducing cooling needs.

Authors of a recent study published in the journal Climatic Change say that cooling a city will also reduce smog and offset carbon emissions. Lighter roofs themselves do not directly emit fewer emissions, but they do directly affect other things which emit carbon like the energy needed to cool a building or home under that dark roof.

Geo-engineering (meaning "the artificial manipulation of the environments of the Earth as a means of counteracting global warming) could enable net energy savings of more than $1,000,000,000 in the United States each and every year. And choosing to install these coatings will mean more jobs by the professional roofing contractors who employ the skilled installation technicians.

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