White Is the New Green

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A white roof that will reflect nasty infrared back into space

If you are considering making a positive green change to your home, consider the idea being promoted by Energy Secretary, and Nobel Prize winner, Steven Chu. According to Secretary Chu – and environmental researchers – turning all our roofs and roadways white would have the same effect as if we were to stop driving cars for a decade.

It may sound crazy, but it really isn’t. As anyone who has ever owned a car with a dark interior can testify, black absorbs the heat from the sun. White interiors, on the other hand, reflect the sunlight, and therefore those cars with paler interiors stay much cooler. The theory is that using this reflective property on a larger scale by painting and/or covering roofs and roads white could offset global warming, simply by virtue of reflecting the heat away from Earth and back toward space - keeping the planet much cooler in exactly the same way as white seats on a car.

There are also additional environmental and economic benefits because white roofing would reduce the energy needed for cooling for homes and businesses, and thereby also reduce the cost for cooling them. It is also a more budget-friendly alternative to putting in a green roof or other green home upgrade, the costs of which are currently often change-prohibitive for the average homeowner.

There may even be benefits that haven’t been considered at present and there may be drawbacks, too. Getting the whole world on board won’t exactly be easy, either. However, going white is definitely something to think about.


Photo Credit


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