White Roofs Project NZ – The fastest way of reducing global warming
We are organizing the White Roofs Project NZ, a very simple and affordable idea offering the fastest way of reducing global warming, and it is being launched as part of the 350 Global Climate Working Bee on 10/10/10, which CNN described last year as “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history”.
The idea is to mimic the way that polar icecaps reflect sunlight back into space and cool the planet, by painting a significant number of roofs white (or slightly tinted). A white roof reflects 55% sunlight and much of this goes back into space, whereas a dark roof converts most of the sunlight into infrared wavelengths which get absorbed by greenhouse gases and do not make it back into space.
“This geo-engineering idea would offset the CO2 emissions of New Zealand’s vehicles over one year, ie 14 Mega Tonne of CO2, and buy us much needed time to come up with better non-polluting energy sources. ”
The idea came to me three years ago and now is being seriously considered by the Obama Administration and pushed by the new Secretary of Energy, Dr Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner, and being implemented on Federal Buildings there.
Dr Steven Chu explains the benefits of White or Cool Roofs. To see the video, click on link http://www.energy.gov/news/9225.htm and scroll down the page.
If your building has air conditioning, a white roof will save on air conditioning cost, and if your building does not have air conditioning then it will be cooler and more pleasant in summer.
A roof of 100 square metre (ie a bit less than the average house) offsets 10 tonne of CO2 emissions per year, or about the same as emitted by two cars.
The project is a win-win solution designed to bring people together with a brilliantly simple idea, having an immediate action plan, where everyone wins including the environment.
Eventually we see the project being self-funding through trading in carbon credits so that the project can subsidize the cost of white roof painting. With carbon credits currently trade in Europe for US$25 per tonne, the 14 Mega tonne figure mentioned above would be worth NZ$380 million, which would pay for the project fairly quickly.
The campaign is only five weeks old and the first roof belongs to a person who was awarded the NZ Order of Merit for her services to education. Other roofs have also been confirmed and we are wishing for many more over the next few weeks. This is just the start of a longer campaign that may take a few years.
The Aucklander supplement to the NZ Herald ran an article on the project on 23rd September.
We are focusing on publicity now, and any suggestions about how to increase publicity (on limited funds), how to reach those who are switched-on, or nearly switched-on, are appreciated. It’s a matter of doing the best on the publicity and education and then seeing what sort of response comes from it.
The idea came to me while thinking about ways to significantly reduce global warming, how the polar icecaps reflect sunlight, and how they are
melting and glaciers receding, and what could be done about that, and then the White Roofs idea came. The idea also came that the global warming issue is not so much a technology problem but a people problem, so that we need a win-win solution that appeals to everyone, where everyone wins, to move the problem forward.
(Image: Heat Island Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
We need your roof! If you would consider joining us by having your roof painted white (or slightly off-white) and be on our register of white roofs, we can provide information, discounted quality paint thanks to a participating paint manufacturer, and in some cases we may be able to subsidize the labour a little.
We need volunteers, to help spread the word.
We need donations, in the short term, to help get the project financially sustainable. One way of donating is at our page on Givealittle www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/whiteroofs
Ian Montanjees (BEngineering, MArchitectural Studies, (Auckland)) has worked in building, architecture, physics and inventing.
Links to white roof articles in the media and scientific research papers, can be found on our website.
Contact Ian at Ian.Montanjees@whiteroofs.org.nz or via our website www.whiteroofs.org.nz
Tags: white roofs