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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > California Environmental Compliance

White Roofs and Cool Pavements in World’s Largest Cities

White roofs and cool pavement will reduce urban heat islands that consume more electricity and endanger lives.

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LBNL Scientists Call For Installing White Roofs and Cool Pavements in World’s Largest Cities

If reflective material was installed on all roofs and pavement in 100 of the world’s largest cities, it would offset 44 Gt tons of CO2, valued at $1.1 trillion.

Cool Roof Energy Research

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) scientists Hashem Akbari and Surabi Menon and California Energy Commissioner Art Rosenfeld recently announced new research findings in which they calculate how much carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) can be offset by increasing the reflectivity of urban surfaces with white roofs and cool pavements.

White Roofs for New Construction and Cool Pavements for Cities

Rosenfeld and the scientists proposed an international campaign to require installation of white roofs in new construction and cool pavements when pavement is installed in 100 of the world’s largest cities.

Green Building, Urban Heat Island Reduction with Cool Roofs

Globally, roofs account for 25% of the surface of most cities, and pavement accounts for about 35%.

If reflective material was installed on all roofs and pavement in the 100 large cities, it would offset 44 billion metric tons of CO 2 , valued at $1.1 trillion — enough to offset more than one year of the total global CO 2 emissions.

White Roofs Save Energy By 20%

White roofs can cut a building’s energy use by up to 20%. The potential energy savings in the U.S. alone exceed $1 billion annually.

California Roof Codes and Regulations

In California, commercial buildings with flat roofs have been required to have white roofs since 2005.

Title 24 Updated: Cool Colored Roofs

Beginning in July 2009, when updated Title 24 standards take effect, new residential roofs and retrofits in California will be required to have “cool-colored” roofs. These roofs are about half as effective as white roofs but still reflect a higher fraction of the sun’s rays than current roofing materials of the same color.

California Projects More Heat Waves and Energy Use for Next Century

Why are white roofs important? Because brutal summer temperatures in inland and coastal California are very likely. That’s the message of a study recently published by a team of researchers based at UC Berkeley that found major California cities can expect more frequent extreme-heat events because of climate change in the coming decades.

Heat Wave Remediation with Cool Roofs

This climate change, in turn, could mean increased electricity demand for the state, raising the risk of power shortages during heat waves -- which impacts both comfort and vulnerability to death by heat strokes. The results were published in “Climate, Extreme Heat, and Electricity Demand in California” in the online version of the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.

Download PDF Research Report from Lawrence Livermore

"Climate, Extreme Heat, and Electricity Demand in California" Online report.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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