I have worked with roofing contractors in recent years and they have seen some movement towards this idea of light colored and insulated roofing materials that save energy and cooling. I put a light colored roof on my home and noticed an almost immediate drop in interior temperature and had less need to cool the house in summer. Makes for a good read.
Painting roofs white and using light-coloured materials to surface roads and pavements would not only make cities cooler in summer, it would save the same amount of carbon as taking all the cars in the world off the roads for 50 years, a study has found.
One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of engineering the urban environment to cope with global warming is to increase the reflectivity of the cityscape so that more of the incoming sunlight is directed back into space, scientists said.
City buildings in warm climates with “cool coloured” surfaces that reflect infra-red radiation would also be cooler than traditional buildings and so would conserve energy – and carbon – that would otherwise be used on air conditioning.
Increasing solar reflectance or “albedo” has been suggested as a way of combating the “heat island” effect of towns and cities, where summers are made unbearably hotter in built-up areas by Tarmac roads and dark buildings that absorb sunlight.
Two years ago, Barack Obama’s top man on global warming, Professor Steven Chu, the US Secretary of Energy, suggested at the Royal Society in London that one of the most effective engineering measures to tackle rising temperatures is to paint roofs.