Zak Stone revisits a simple, smart idea for staying cool:
When temperatures heat up, white roofs can stay up to 30 degrees cooler than traditional dark roofs, generating a cooling effect throughout the building below, which means less electricity used for air conditioning. Interiors of a white-roofed building can linger at 80 degrees when it's 90 outside.
Bill Clinton recently championed the idea as a way to create jobs and help the environment:
Every black roof in New York should be white; every roof in Chicago should be white; every roof in Little Rock should be white. Every flat tar-surface roof anywhere! In most of these places you could recover the cost of the paint and the labor in a week. It’s the quickest, cheapest thing you can do. In the current environment it’s been difficult for the mayors to get what is otherwise a piddling amount of money to do it everywhere. Yet lowering the utility bill in every apartment house 10 to 20 percent frees cash that can be spent to increase economic growth.