The White Roof Solution to Global Warming

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Anaxagoras
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The White Roof Solution to Global Warming

Post by Anaxagoras »

http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 91209.html
Steven Chu, the US Secretary of Energy and a Nobel prize-winning scientist, said yesterday that making roofs and pavements white or light-coloured would help to reduce global warming by both conserving energy and reflecting sunlight back into space. It would, he said, be the equivalent of taking all the cars in the world off the road for 11 years.
. . .
"If that building is air-conditioned, it's going to be a lot cooler, it can use 10 or 15 per cent less electricity," he said. "You also do something in that you change the albedo of the Earth – you make it more reflective. So the sunlight comes down and it actually goes back up – there is no greenhouse effect," Dr Chu said.

When sunlight is reflected off a white or light-coloured surface much of that light will pass through the atmosphere and back into space, unlike the infrared radiation emitted from the Earth's warmed-up surface, which is blocked by greenhouse gases and causes global warming. "What we're doing is that, as we put in more greenhouse gases, we're putting in more insulation for infrared light. So if you make white roofs and the sunlight comes in, it goes right through that [insulation]," said Dr Chu.
Is this idea too much like "make sure your tires are properly inflated"?
It's too simple and low-tech. And there's a collective action problem. But, it's maybe more realistic than reducing fossil fuels. It could be a piece of the puzzle.
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Post by asthmatic camel »

It doesn't sound very practical. Who's going to paint (and repaint) all the pavements and rooves? Who's going to pay for it? How much environmental damage would be caused by producing that amount of paint? Plus, it would look dreadful, certainly in Britland.

Dumb idea.
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Post by Abdul Alhazred »

The idea is to get you used to jumping through hoops (to prove your heart is pure).

If only Al Gore had been president instead of Mister Smoothie. The current global cooling trend would be evidences he was right. Instead of a stupid irrelevancy mentioned only by evil deniers.
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Post by JEROME DA GNOME »

Abdul Alhazred wrote:The idea is to get you used to jumping through hoops (to prove your heart is pure).

If only Al Gore had been president instead of Mister Smoothie. The current global cooling trend would be evidences he was right. Instead of a stupid irrelevancy mentioned only by evil deniers.

:D :D :D
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ed
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Post by ed »

And what are the unintended consequences of increasing the Earth's albedo?
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Post by Mentat »

asthmatic camel wrote:It doesn't sound very practical. Who's going to paint (and repaint) all the pavements and rooves? Who's going to pay for it? How much environmental damage would be caused by producing that amount of paint? Plus, it would look dreadful, certainly in Britland.

Dumb idea.
You don't pave them. They go white on their own. Super cheap solution.

Though seriously, I think Chu meant that when we repave them (preferably during maintenance), we use a lighter colored mixture. And if he's thinking what I'm think he's thinking, he already knows what to materials to put down that are in the cost range of using garden variety asphalt.
It's "pea-can", man.

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Post by Major Malfunction »

I prefer my mirror-polished, chrome-plated roof.

Gives me something to do on weekends.
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Post by Bearguin »

I'd rather see solar panels on the roofs.

But that's just because I work for a company that makes and installs solar panels. :)

But they aren't cost effective on a small scale at this point. Payback is worse than buying a hybrid.
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Post by asthmatic camel »

Mentat, I've some experience in the landscaping game and can assure you that anything white is costly to maintain, (unless you want surfaces to look as though they're made from three day old, half-melted snow full of dog turds and other crap.)

Even if the original material used was white, you'd need an army of blokes with high-powered jet washers to keep it that way.

Still dumb.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Post by Mentat »

asthmatic camel wrote:Mentat, I've some experience in the landscaping game and can assure you that anything white is costly to maintain, (unless you want surfaces to look as though they're made from three day old, half-melted snow full of dog turds and other crap.)

Even if the original material used was white, you'd need an army of blokes with high-powered jet washers to keep it that way.

Still dumb.
You don't need it to be white-white. If the bulk material itself is light, and it will wear down, then I wouldn't fret over it too much. I don't think anybody would care if it was pure white; the standards don't have to be up to what somebody wants a house to look like. Roofs, ah, maybe.

Now painting the roads white would be just plain dumb. But I don't think that's what's being done.
It's "pea-can", man.

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Post by robinson »

A white road? Wouldn't that make it easy to see objects on them at night? Or in the rain? Shucks, it would make it easy to see the road itself, especially at night.

Some roads in Florida are sort of white, they are made from concrete. It isn't really white, but light colored, and the lines are dark. The problem with concrete roads is they last forever, and resist potholes. Some of the sections of concrete roads have never had to be worked on, they never get repaved or anything that slows traffic and costs a lot of money.

If you paint roofs with a white elastomeric coating (they do this in Florida as well, mostly trailers and awning roofs), it reflects sunlight, and it water proofs the roof. The problem with doing this, is you can do this over and over, meaning you don't ever have to replace the roof. And it won't leak. And it is relatively cheap compared to replacing or fixing a roof.

There are many problems with this idea of reflecting heat from roofs and roads.
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Post by robinson »

The biggest problem will be that the roofs are white. Nobody wants to look at a white roof. Black and grey are much prettier than white, and a white roof will show dirt and leaves on it.

Same for roads. You will see an oil or dirt on the road if it is white. The concrete roads have this dirty oily strip in the middle where oil leaks from vehicles. You can see it! Horrible.
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Post by asthmatic camel »

Bearguin, do you have any idea if progress is being made with solar panel technology? Here, they generally haven't paid for themselves by the time they need replacing, and I'm fairly sure that the environmetal damage caused by producing them is fairly high.

Oh, and Mentat, people really do give a shit about the way their local neighbourhood looks. We have an absolute mountain of regulations regarding what you are and are not allowed to do with your property.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Post by Mentat »

I'm not talking about roofs.
It's "pea-can", man.

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asthmatic camel
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Post by asthmatic camel »

Mentat wrote:I'm not talking about roofs.
Nor am I.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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Post by Mentat »

asthmatic camel wrote:
Mentat wrote:I'm not talking about roofs.
Nor am I.
Well, then that's settled.
It's "pea-can", man.

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Post by ed »

Image

Does this make me like an environmentalist or something?
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Post by asthmatic camel »

No, it makes you look like a vain twat who's photoshopped the lard out of his face, dyed his hair black and painted on a fake moustache and eyebrows with his wife's mascara.

:D
Last edited by asthmatic camel on Thu May 28, 2009 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.
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asthmatic camel
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Post by asthmatic camel »

Mentat wrote:
asthmatic camel wrote:
Mentat wrote:I'm not talking about roofs.
Nor am I.
Well, then that's settled.
Honestly, we really do have strict laws regarding the way any development, public or domestic, affects the appearance of an area, sometimes to a silly extent. Brits enjoy a good moan about trivial bullshit.

White tarmac would cause riots.
Shit happens. The older you get, the more often shit happens. So you have to try not to give a shit even when you do. Because, if you give too many shits, you've created your own shit creek and there's no way out other than swimming through the shit. Oh, and fuck.