• International Insurance Blog

  • Monday, July 24, 2017

  • Let’s paint the town WHITE!

    Filed Under:
    Author: Anupama

Painting your roof white will reduce global warming and conserve energy, according to Steven Chu, the Nobel prizewinning physicist who now runs the U.S. Department of Energy. He continues, “If you look at all the buildings and make all the roofs white, and if you make the pavement a more concrete-type of color than a black-type of color, and you do this uniformly … It’s the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars in the world by 11 years.” Now that’s doing quite something for the planet we live on and us of course.

The roof absorbs sunlight, and then radiates heat into the building. The temperature inside the building increases, and we use energy - in the form of air conditioning - to cool the building. Paint the roof white (or use a reflective material, like white tiles), the roof absorbs less sunlight, less heat is radiated into the building, the temperature inside the building doesn’t increase as much and we don’t need to use as much energy to cool the building. In the United States, the California state government has become a leader in encouraging the use of white roofs or cool roofs.

White roofs may also reduce global warming. When sunlight is absorbed by a roof, the roof heats up and radiates heat in the form of infrared light, which is invisible to human eyes. Infrared light is emitted from the roof and reaches the atmosphere, where it is absorbed by gases and re-emitted as infrared light - a continuous cycle of absorption and emission that traps heat in the atmosphere and increases the temperature of the Earth. Gases that absorb and radiate infrared light are called greenhouse gases - these include water vapor, carbon dioxide and ozone.

Atmospheric gases don’t absorb much visible light, which is why sunlight reflected from a white roof - visible light - can travel through the atmosphere and escape into outer space. So let’s re-write the old saying, “paint the town red” to PAINT IT WHITE!!!!

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