Cool roofs to combat the "heat island" impact, and save energy and reduce emissions
From July 22 "Science News" (everything old SHOULD be new again...)
Global model confirms: Cool roofs can offset carbon dioxide emissions and mitigate global warming
Light-colored roofs and pavements would help in 2 ways. First, the "urban heat island" effect would be mitigated. Second, by reflecting incoming solar radiation back into space, the whole globe would, on average, become a bit cooler. In terms of CO2 emissions, an offset of two years worth of emissions could be attained. Provided of course, such a huge amount of light-colored stuff can be produced and installed in a carbon-neutral manner.
Can light-colored rooftops and roads really curb carbon emissions and combat global climate change? The idea has been around for years, but now, a new study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that is the first to use a global model to study the question has found that implementing cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can not only help cities stay cooler, they can also cool the world, with the potential of canceling the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. Because white roofs reflect far more of the sun's heat than black ones, buildings with white roofs will stay cooler. If the building is air conditioned, less air conditioning will be required, thus saving energy. Even if there is no air conditioning, the heat absorbed by a black roof both heats the space below, making the space less comfortable, and is also carried into the city air by wind—raising the ambient temperature in what is known as the urban heat island effect. Additionally, there's a third, less familiar way in which a black roof heats the world: it radiates energy directly into the atmosphere, which is then absorbed by the nearest clouds and ends up trapped by the greenhouse effect, contributing to global warming.
Currently exploring an approach to addressing cool roofs, green roofs & walls.
NOTE: TM Vcr's idea "Prohibit the use of black roofing shingles and black commercial roof surfaces." has been merged with this one.
"Such black surfaces are known to contribute to the heat island effect, require more office cooling and related energy use. A simple change to the building code could mandate light surfaces for commercial buildings, and lighter shingles for homes. Latter may be toughter to implement, given home owner concerns about aesthetics and the difficulty in preventing DIY stores from stocking such products. One benefit of this is that it can be part of building retrofits. I believe some US cities in the US Northeast have successfully implemented this approach already."
In Copenhagen, they have started an initiative to have all green roofs, instead of black tar.