Cool Roofs Could Offset Two Years of CO2 Emissions


Using lighter colors for rooftops and streets worldwide could help reduce global temperatures and offset the heat from as much as two years of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study. After examining the results from a global land surface model from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory determined that increasing the reflectivity of roofs and pavement in cities with populations greater than 1 million would have a one-time cooling effect equivalent to reducing global CO2 emissions by 57 billion metric tons, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Roofs and pavements cover 50 to 65 percent of the planet’s urban areas, helping to contribute to the so-called urban heat island effect, in which cities are significantly warmer than surrounding areas. That warmth radiates into the atmosphere, which is then absorbed by clouds and trapped by the greenhouse effect. More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and experts predict that figure will reach 70 percent by 2040. As part of an initiative to promote a transition to cooler surfaces, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu directed all department offices to install cool roofs on any new buildings or when replacing old ones.



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4 comments on “Cool Roofs Could Offset Two Years of CO2 Emissions

More of this please. #CleanTech Blog: Cool Roofs Could Offset Two Years of #CO2 #Emissions http://bit.ly/baAJgo #climate

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We put a white roof on our garage & it stays so much cooler inside. RT @glueandglitter Cool Roofs Offset CO2 Emissions http://bit.ly/chKcdP

This comment was originally posted on Twitter

The beauty of this is it is a cheap solution when you compare it to other ideas being talked about.

As in putting that snow white sealer, I forget the name, over shingles or rolled on roof paper. It helps seal against weather damage and reduces heat inside. In the desert, I think they call it snow coat, my former home in the desert had it and it was much cooler.

There would be an upfront cost but these products last for a number of years.

Good idea.

Excellent idea! Easy, fairly inexpensive and fast – just what is needed. If it doesn’t reduce global warming, it will reduce electricity use and make people more comfortable. And, every little bit makes a difference!

I’ve been telling people about the importance of cooling cities for years and have recommended planting trees – this will appeal to those that can’t or don’t want to plant trees.

Thanks for sharing!!

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