Monday, June 15, 2009

Is White the New Green?

What color is your roof? Brown? Tan? Black? Grey? Terracotta? Whatever color it is, my guess is that it isn't white. Should it be?

An article in The Seattle Times, U.S. suggests white roofs to curtail climate change, made me start thinking of this. According to the article, the idea is that "the reflective properties of white, if applied on enough of the worlds rooftops, might be a brake on global warming."

I get it - it's along the lines of wearing a white shirt on a hot day instead of a black one. I definitely don't have any plans to change the color of my roof (my neighborhood association wouldn't allow it either), but I do like the out-of-the-box thinking by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

I particularly like it because, if it is found to be significant, it shows a way that one industry could make a big difference. We clearly aren't going to solve our problems lightbulb by lightbulb so the ideas that seem crazy at first blush sound interesting to me. In this case, the suggestion is not that it would reverse our current problems - simply turn down the heat a little while we try to figure them out. At least worth investigating.

Of course, living in the Pacific Northwest, there aren't really enough hot days that we would want reflective white paint turning the heat away. Maybe one day we'll all get black roofs instead to absorb heat.

1 comment:

  1. My parents old neighbors had a white house with a white metal roof. It was the biggest eyesore! It certainly did not blend in with the beautiful surroundings and it reflected the sun so well that it was almost blinding. It's a nice idea, but I'd like to be able to see nature rather than be blinded by houses.