Combating climate change: To build low carbon future, Paint the town white

Experts say painting the ‘built environment’ white could drastically reduce temperatures.


Express November 23, 2011



White is the new green. Given the colour’s ability to repel heat, painting the roofs of buildings around the cities white can drastically decrease energy consumption.


This was message given by various experts who were speaking at a special seminar on “Cool Roofs: Solar Radiation Management (SRM) Techniques to Combat Climate Change and Energy Crisis” on Tuesday. The event was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

They also urged the government to create awareness among citizens and highlight the need for cool roofs to save energy. This would also help in coutering the global climate change, the experts added according to an SDPI press release.

SDPI Project Associate Farzana Yasmin Yasmin explained that SRM techniques are used to make the earth more reflective by diverting incoming solar radiation. Cool roof is one of the SRM techniques that increases reflectivity of the “built environment” by painting roofs, roads and pavements with a bright reflective white.

This provides a cooling affect, as the white roofs absorbs about 70% less sunlight than an ordinary roof and hence counteracts the heating affect of the greenhouse gases.

According to a research, she said, widespread installations of cool roofs and pavements can reduce summer air temperatures in cities by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit).

Assistant Chief (Buildings) National Energy Conservation Centre (ENERCON) Abrar Malik said that we need to cultivate a new energy culture, focusing on achieving sustainable development through conservation and efficient use of energy resources.

Malik also highlighted initiatives taken by Enercon for energy conservation such as buildings energy audits, energy efficient housing by the use of roof slabs, awareness campaigns, appointment of energy managers and amendment in regulations of Building Control Authorities and Utility Providers.

Advisor Climate Change Syed Amjad Hussain said that cool roofs can typically reduce the need for air-conditioning in summer by 10% - 20%.

Talking about global efforts to reduce carbon emissions he quoted the example of example of Masdar city.

Senior Research Associate SDPI Shakeel Ahmad Ramay moderated the proceedings.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.

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