Bloomy: Paint It White

Thursday, September 24, 2009
Al Gore, Mayor Bloomberg, and others put a final coat on a new white roof for a warehouse in Long Island City. (Courtesy Office of the Mayor)

Al Gore, Mayor Bloomberg, and others put a final coat on a new white roof for a warehouse in Long Island City. (Courtesy Office of the Mayor)

New Yorkers, grab your paint brushes and rollers. That’s the message from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he and Mr. Global Warming himself, Al Gore, kicked off NYC Cool Roofs, part of the city’s new service program that gets volunteers to paint city roofs white. A cheaper and less intensive alternative to green roofs, white roofs help keep buildings cool by reflecting the suns rays back from whence they came—though they don’t address stormwater issues like their verdant cousins.

“It’s such a simple concept—anyone who has ever gotten dressed in the summer knows it—light-colored surfaces absorb less heat than darker surfaces do,” Bloomberg said from a factory rooftop in Long Island City earlier today. “Coating rooftops with reflective, white paint can reduce roof temperatures by as much as 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees.” Gore thanked the mayor for keeping the city “at the forefront of enacting innovative policies that reduce our carbon footprint.”

While the Times calls white roofs a stop-gap measure, and more green roofs would obviously be the ideal, they’re gaining in popularity, particularly with the Obama administration. The city’s program is currently in the pilot stages, with plans to cover 100,000 square feet of LIC rooftops over the next two weeks. The area was chosen for its expansive industrial buildings that make it one of the hotter spots in the city—as well as easier to paint.

While the Building Code now requires many new buildings to have white roofs, the city’s sustainability czar, Rohit Aggarwala, noted that 85 percent of buildings that will exist by 2030 are already built. “As a result, we must include existing buildings in our efforts to cool the City,” he said. “The NYC Cool Roofs program, combined with the building code requirement that re-roofing projects include reflective coating, is critical to meeting the City’s goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.”

6 Responses to “Bloomy: Paint It White”

  1. Mary Tovey says:

    Our city mayor met Mr Bloomberg recently at the Copenhagen conference and has returned to us in Melbourne, Australia full of enthusiasm for the Cool Roofs plan to be integrated into the City of Melbourne’s CBD.
    The paint used is not household paint, it has been treated to act as a heat reflector
    and is such a simple remedy that I can only ask why one of us on this planet didn’t think of it sooner !
    I look forward to getting more details about this latest idea and hope the cynics won’t laugh it off as a gimmick of some kind. Give it a go, as we Australians say.

  2. club penguin says:

    This blog is great! Thanks for your hard work on it.

  3. club penguin says:

    Thank you so much for your siteI love everything about it.

  4. Emelle says:

    I live in a 4th floor apartment next to a 3-story building with the reflective “energy saving” coating, and ever since they applied the stuff, my apartment’s been about 12-15 degrees HOTTER than usual. Why? Because the reflective, silvery coating is bouncing all the magnified sunlight back up through all my windows. In the summer, we might have to resort to air conditioning the WHOLE apartment (something we’ve NEVER done before). If not, we’ll have to use room darkeners and live like vampires. I can’t believe no one anticipated this, either–save one person energy, make their neighbor use a hundred times MORE electricity. Any energy saved by my neighbor’s building will be offset by the fact that this summer, I will have to use about 10x more electricity than ever before!

  5. Heat reflective paint says:

    Thanks for the good and hard working blog!
    I looking forward to see more posting fron you

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