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Published on July 26th, 2011 | by Shannon Soesbe


Bill Clinton Urges Americans to Paint Dark Roofs White

July 26th, 2011 by  

White roof and skylights on Walmart's Las Vegas store

Bill Clinton may no longer be President, but he still has plenty of ideas on how to address the fact that 14 million people are out of work across America.  Newsweek recently published an article by Mr. Clinton wherein he suggested 14 different ways of increasing jobs throughout the country.

With an overall heavy emphasis on energy sector job opportunities, his eighth proposed solution was to paint the black roofs of every city across America a bright white.  Painting roofs white in order to reduce energy consumption is hardly a new concept, but adding his name to the list of those who endorse the idea is sure to give it a boost.

He suggested that the work of painting the roofs would provide employment and skill training for young workers.  According to Mr. Clinton, “A big percentage of the kids have been able to parlay this simple work into higher-skilled training programs or energy-related retrofit jobs. (And, believe it or not, painting the roof white can lower the electricity use by 20 percent on a hot day!)”

He’s absolutely correct about the benefits of painting black roofs white.  Solar-reflective white paint deflects 90% of sunlight, contrary to the 20% reflected by a traditional black tar roof.  This results in a significant temperature drop within a building, creating a reduced need for air conditioning and considerable energy savings. White roofs also reduce the “urban heat island” effect in which temperatures are higher in dense urban areas because of the number of black tar surfaces.  New York City is approximately 5 degrees warmer than the surrounding suburbs as a result of this effect.

Painting dark roofs white is a simple idea with potentially huge benefits, both environmental and economical.  Hats off to former President Clinton for bringing it to the attention of a wider audience.

Related Stories:

  1. Cheap Solar Paint Takes a Giant Step Closer to Reality
  2. How Obama’s Home Star “Cash for Caulkers” Program Could Green Up America’s Homes
  3. MIT Roof Tiles Save Energy in All Climates

(h/t to Reuters)

Photo via Walmart Stores 


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