DOE Gets Serious About White Roofs

photo via flickr

Yesterday, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a plan to increase the amount of white roofs at DOE facilities and at buildings across federal government. The Feds have committed to reducing their emissions by 28 percent by 2020, which where white roofs come in. Energy efficiency is dramatically increased by painting a roof white because it reflects the sun's rays, reducing heat island impacts.Said Chu:
"Cool roofs are one of the quickest and lowest cost ways we can reduce our global carbon emissions and begin the hard work of slowing climate change. By demonstrating the benefits of cool roofs on our facilities, the federal government can lead the nation toward more sustainable building practices, while reducing the federal carbon footprint and saving money for taxpayers."

If you've ever been in a city on a hot summer day, you've likely felt the effects of an urban heat island. Dark roofs and road pavement, which cover 50 to 65 percent of urban areas, combine to collect massive amounts of heat, turning a city into a jungle. White roofs would mitigate this effect, requiring less energy to cool buildings. DOE has already installed more than two million square feet of white roofs and it reports that it has consequently saved $500,000 a year in energy costs.

Here's Chu describing the beauty of white and cool roofs:

More on white roofs:
White Roofs to Sweep the World, Fight Climate Change : TreeHuggerNote to the Obama Administration: Let's Get Past the Stock Talking Points and Have Some More Passion... Like Prince Charles

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