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How White Roofs Shine Bright Green

from the Christian Science Monitor

Can you help save the planet by painting your roof white? Hashem Akbari thinks so. Global warming’s complexity and momentum have led to a try-everything approach by scientists. In that spirit, Dr. Akbari offers his simple yet profound innovation for slowing that warming way down.

It has long been known that a white roof makes a dwelling cooler. That saves energy and cuts carbon emissions. But until Akbari, a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, picked up a pencil to do the calculations, few realized the major climate effect that millions of white rooftops could have by reflecting sunlight back into space.

It turns out that a 1,000 square foot area of rooftop painted white has about the same one-time impact on global warming as cutting 10 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, he and his colleagues write in a new study soon to be published in the journal Climatic Change.

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