Posted by: Green Knight | May 12, 2010

time to paint the roof

i rent from a very progressive apartment-management company, and when i suggested that they paint the roof white, surprise! they’d already been considering it. sure, it would uglify Mansard and other sloped roofs, but on flat-roofed buildings, it would make a small but positive difference, not enough to make a fraction of a fraction of impact on warming globally, but enough to reflect some insolation and make the building less expensive to cool in summertime, creating a little microclimate. planting trees around the south side of your building (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) helps with the bills as well. i wish i still had the issue of “Omni” magazine from 1977 or 1978 with an article by sci-fi author Frederik Pohl about global warming. he was on top of it early. one of his suggestions was to paint Texas white, but that was just a joke. humans have the ingenuity to fix this, it’s just that we’re so lazy that we wait until it becomes a crisis before we get moving. i know that fact all too well. i don’t need an alarm-clock…i just wait until the cats start tap-dancing on my head to wake me up in the morning and feed them. whoever comes up with an asphalt roofing material with enough titanium dioxide in it to make it white will reap some heavy bucks…wish it was me. or mirrored roofs, as i’ve seen suggested. wow, in the ’70s it was mirrored ceilings, now it’s mirrored roofs. but that would heat up the microclimate around the house…white paint is less aggressive and less subject to breakage. we are looking at a few THOUSAND years of bad luck here.

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