Changing the color of roofs and pavement worldwide could potentially offset nearly a year’s worth of global CO2 emissions, according to a study released this week at the Conference on Climate Change in Sacramento, Calif.
"This simple and effective idea can organize the world into taking measured steps to mitigate global warming,” Akbari said in a news release. “Our findings will help city leaders and urban planners quantify the amount of CO2 they can offset using white roofs and cool pavements.”
The world produced 49 billion metric tons of emissions in 2004, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
White roofs could cut energy use by buildings by 20 percent, the researchers said. The equivalent energy reduction would save the U.S. $1 billion a year in energy costs.
California has already adopted energy-efficient roofing standards. It has mandated since 2005 that flat roofs on commercial buildings must be white.
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