Since 2003 nearly two trillion tons of ice have melted in the world’s coldest regions, causing sea levels to rise 50 percent faster than 15 years ago.  The causation has been blamed on the Global Climate Change. Crete As countries scramble to develop solutions for man’s contribution to house gases, there are some effective and less expensive remedies.  The Greeks were pioneers in philosophy, art, and most importantly science.  Having an understanding that dark colors absorb heat and light colors reflect it, the Greeks painted their buildings throughout the Mediterranean in white.  Just look at all the pictures of Crete.  Doing so drastically reduced the temperatures in the cities and helped keep the buildings cool.

More recently, a study done by the Heat Island Group further reinforces this notion.   Painting roofs white in warm climates could decrease air conditioning by 20%, thereby demanding less energy, and releasing less CO2 into the atmosphere.   In fact, the study suggests that if the 100 most populous cities were to paint their roofs in reflective colors and use concrete instead of asphalt, the amount of heat reflected from the Earth would be enough to offset decades of Global Warming.  The understanding of this concept has been known for some time.  In 2005 California passed legislation that required flat commercial roofs to have reflected paint.  A new law enacted in July 2009 extends it to slope residential and commercial.  Other states along the Sunbelt should follow suit as a means to compact our climate change immediately.  Those in the cooler areas have another method to use: Green Roofs.

Green Roofs are roofs that are covered by vegetation and act as a means to insulate the building by reducing the cost of heating and cooling the structure.  The vegetation contains shallow roots that won’t exceed the modulars they were planted in.  These non-permanent fixtures increase the longevity of the roofs while serving as a filter for air pollution and the collection of storm water.  Private companies such as GreenGrid Roofs have successfully constructed green roofs throughout major cities across the country including numerous governmental buildings, thereby turning concrete jungles into the picture below.

Green_City

The crisis with our global climate is not an issue that must be left for bureaucratic nations to handle along.  It is one that we as humans who continuously contribute to the problem must also steer.  Painting our roofs white and placing vegetation on flattops may seem inconsequential, but so is recycling a tin can and riding a bike.  The actions are small, but their effects in numbers can change the world.

Advertisements