The Good Doctor
Over lunch, the U.S. Green Building Council honored with our 2012 President’s Award, one of the most remarkable men you’d ever want to meet, Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld, award-winning physicist and former Commissioner of the California.
These days, Art – who is in his mid-eighties yet who still has more energy than I have on my best days, who studied under the legendary Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago, and who is the most-honored expert on (and proponent of) energy efficiency in the world today – operates with one professional mantra in mind; If a roof is flat, it shall be white.
The reason? Consider:
- Flat white roofs reduce urban heat and, by extension, delay climate change significantly.
- One 1,000 sq. ft. white roof instead of one black one will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment by 10 tons over the course of that roof.
- If all flat black roofs in the world today were replaced by white ones the impact would be the same as taking half the cars in the world off the road for the next 20 years or shutting down 500 medium sized coal-fired power plants, or 1,000 gas-fired ones.
- And for practical purposes, and using the 2003 European heat wave as an example, white roofs would have reduced the average daily heat so significantly in all the major cities in Europe that of the 52,000 people that died that year from the heat, thousands would still be alive today.
That’s why the State of California, the greenest government on the planet, is one of the leaders in the white roof movement, and why this is a concept you’re going to be hearing more, rather than less of, in the months and years ahead.