If every rooftop in the world was painted white, the White Roof Project says that 24 billion metric tons of CO2 would be saved, a number equal to the amount of CO2 emitted in 2010. Essentially, this would have the same effect of turning the world off for one year.
In places like New York City, the Urban Heat Island effect causes cities to be much hotter and consume more energy than their rural neighbors. Why is this an issue? The EPA says, “Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.” Yikes.
Surprisingly, just painting a roof white can combat this effect. It’s based on a simple principle: dark colors absorb heat while light colors reflect heat. Would you go outside wearing all black on a hot sunny day? Why should our cities have to?
Has your city started painting any roofs white? Let us know in the comments.
A Boston native, Amy has worked in the film industry's social media space since 2008. As TakePart's Digital Community Coordinator, she combines her passion for social good with her knack for connecting ideas and people. Email Amy|@amyeicher