Clinton's solution for the jobs crisis – painters

UPDATE:  have a look at Clinton’s house below. Yep, that’s the big plan. Paint your roofs white. From the Atlantic:

I have no problem with saving energy, especially in the summer when power drain is excessive due to A/C load. California now requires most flat-roofed buildings to be white. As a testament to the potential cash savings, Walmart has installed white roofs on 75% of its stores in the United States. Roofs comprise over 20% of urban surface, so while painting them all white in a city, there’s still a lot of asphalt.

But paint roofs white has a downside as well as an upside. It depends on where you live. If you live in a mostly warm climate, say Miami or Phoenix, you’ll realize energy savings. But if you live in Minot,ND  or International Falls, MN your white roof will not absorb as much sunlight in winter, thus requiring more energy for heating.

The point is, painting roofs white natiowide, willy  nilly, without regard to the local climate, average temperatures, the number of days of sunshine etc. won’t be a full solution.

An idea like Cool Angle, might work, but is far more involved than a paint job.

=============================================

UPDATE: Reader John provides this image link to the former president’s home. Goose, gander, and all that. We look forward to seeing Bill lead the way.

Source: http://www.zillow.com/howto/FamousPresidentsHomes.htm

Advertisements

181 thoughts on “Clinton's solution for the jobs crisis – painters

  1. They will be able to look down with Google Earth and see who is the good greenie with the white roof, and who is the evil, Gaia hating miscreant with a dark roof who needs to be arrested and sent off to Climate Gulag.

  2. Uhhh… basic physics lesson here, white surfaces have lower energy radiation too. So if you have a building which you intend to thermally insulate it’s better to paint it white in any weather conditions.

  3. Dullard. Makes a bit of sense in the hot areas. No so much in temperate areas. It balances out perfectly. That must be a coincidence.//

  4. Better be careful we might trigger an ice age. Hey I have a question I am hoping someone can answer. I had read this post on 1998 no longer being the hottest year (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/08/08/1998-no-longer-the-hottest-year-on-record-in-usa/) and then clicked on the link to NASA’s data. I noticed that now all the numbers are different, but what’s really strange is the anomalies for 1998, 2006, 1999, 2001, and 1990 all got larger, but the anomalies for 1934, 1921, and 1931 all shrank. What is this about? I sorted the data in an excel spreadsheet and they have the temps ranked 1) 1998, 2) 2006, 3) 1934. Are they now calculating with respect to a different baseline period? But why are all recent years getting boosted and the years in the 20s and 30s smaller? This sounds fishy and I’m hoping someone can explain why 1998 is now the hottest year on record and why 2006 has displaced 1934.

  5. Tony, a retired Australian electrician, has been trying to point out a single and massive energy saving measure that cannot fail. Because his thinking is rooted in such antiquated Australian virtues as make-do, thrift and commonsense it does not filter through to the commentariat.
    Whether you object to CO2, particulates or crummy energy supply, this is the one big thing to do now.
    http://papundits.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/co2-emissions-reduction-a-radical-plan/

  6. There is at least a little bit of logic to the proposal.
    With even some evidence based on the Walmart experience. Real world measurements.
    Of course this won’t be accepted by anyone until some computer models are put together. Shouldn’t run more than $100 million or so.

  7. This is a reasonable thing to do, especially in hotter areas that use a lot of A/C for cooling. If the balance falls the other way (ie most energy use is heating) then it might be counterproductive.
    Give the guy a little credit for pointing out something obvious and cheap that will make a difference to energy bills, at least in some places.

  8. Keynes said that it was better for an economy to pay someone to dig a hole and fill it in again, than to just let them be unemployed.
    Regardless of the value of the work, if people work they pay taxes and more importantly get into the habit of working (you should see the youth over here in the UK they don’t want to work).
    The US is in big trouble and you need to galvanise your nation to get back to doing jobs that are practical rather than services (the same problem we have here) otherwise you’ll be a post empire economy just like most of Europe and the UK 🙁
    The USA is a great country (I’ve enjoyed many visits) and you have a great “can do” attitude, however if you don’t pull your socks up you will become risk averse like the UK and all innovation will disappear.
    Forty years ago we could walk on the Moon and ordinary people could fly supersonic across the Atlantic now we can’t do either 🙁

  9. It seems that nobody knows “cool color” paint. It is not the visible color which is responsible for the heath absorption, but the IR absorption.
    Keep your roof cool with black “cool color” is possible due to modern technology.
    Keep the color and keep cool.

  10. Interesting, Anthony. Stephen Chu first popularized this idea, adding the claim that it would change the climate. Bill Clinton doesn’t go that far.
    According to the GAEZ, urban areas comprise some 0.4% of the US area. The US is generally more urbanized than the globe as a whole, which is only 0.2% urban areas.
    However, this includes roads, freeways, parking lots, and the like. Assuming that the actual buildings are 20% of that, we get 0.08% of the US covered by a roof, and about 0.04% of the globe covered by a roof.
    So obviously, the claim made (not by Bill Clinton but by Stephen Chu, our charmingly naive head of the Energy Department) about painting roofs is untrue. Here’s Chu on the subject:

    “You also do something in that you change the albedo of the Earth – you make it more reflective. So the sunlight comes down and it actually goes back up – there is no greenhouse effect,” Dr Chu said.

    “Now you smile, but if you look at all the buildings and make all the roofs white, and if you make the pavement a more concrete-type of colour than a black-type of colour, and you do this uniformly… It’s the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars in the world by 11 years,” he said.

    I’m sorry to inform Dr. Chu that painting 0.04% of ANYTHING won’t make a damn bit of difference to the temperature of that thing, including the globe.
    Now, should it be done? Should building roofs be painted white? That is a very complex calculation that, inter alia, relates to such things as:
    • Hours of sunlight at the location.
    • Current color of the roof (most homes in Phoenix and
    • R-value of the existing roof insulation.
    • Existence of an attic.
    • Nature/timing of the two loads (heating and cooling)
    • Type of heating/cooling
    • Cost of labor and paint
    • Cost of heating/cooling
    • Slope/orientation of roof (little gain in painting steep north-facing roofs)
    In some cases it’s a no-brainer, flat black tar roof in Arizona with no attic. But google earth shows most roofs in Arizona aren’t flat black, they tend towards a light gray or tan or light brown.
    For less obvious cases, an analysis based on the info above will determine the payback time for the investment. Which may be a while. I remember old adobe houses in New Mexico, with an adobe roof a foot thick. Painting that puppy white would make precious little difference. (Nor, given the dust, would it stay white long …)
    Finally, should we have spent stimulus funds painting roofs as Clinton suggested? For me, if I had to spend, it would have been far better to paint roofs than some of the other things the stimulus money was wasted on. Hire the homeless, give them a bucket of whitewash and a brush, put them up on a hot tar roof, it’s the Tom Sawyer stimulus plan …
    Best to all,
    w.

  11. In some parts of the world painting the town white is already a tradition. And, no, it isn’t done just because the people living there are particularly jovial or that the white looks pretty to the blue of the sea:
    “Many homes in the West Coast of California and the East Coast of Florida are built using Mediterranean architecture, because these states have the same climate as the Mediterranean region. The climate in the Mediterranean is hot, with temperatures soaring up to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. So in these regions, houses are built so that the indoors of the house always remains cool. The houses have to be built taking the weather and environmental factors, such as sound, into account. The weather includes wind, rain, sunlight and temperature. Thus, the houses have to be built to enable the protection of the people inside, from the scorching sun, by using insulation to keep the heat out. This is done by giving a stucco finish to the wall surfaces. The houses are painted white and even the floors have white tiles, so that they reflect heat rather than absorb it.”
    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/mediterranean-architecture.html

  12. Have you worked out the CO2 used in the manufacture and environmental damage of all this paint? It would need a lot of algaecide in it for instance [or you’ll have green roofs], and would need to be oil based. It’s absolute lunacy.

  13. In my neck of the woods, roofs turn white all by themselves, at certain times. And, sure enough, this causes it to get cold, so we know it works!
    I’m up for painting roofs and roads white, but what I’m really looking forward to are the mirrored sidewalks!
    Best,
    Frank

  14. Well I don’t know what the suburb Mr Clinton is in looks like but the houses around here with white roofs often have (compulsory) black solar water heaters or (heavily subsidised) black solar PV cells on them. Does he want home owners to take them off? Has he worked out how much global warming a city of solar PV roofs causes? Maybe he should install nice hockey stick causing matt black solar PV right next to all the Stevenson Screens in the country to power them and save some CO2 emissions.

  15. A lot of places in winter, the roof is covered with snow. you can see which houses have poor insulation in the attic if the roof is bare. Painting roofs white is a good idea to keep things cool in summer, in winter it mostly doesn’t make any difference.

  16. Nah. Sod them. Grasses and shrubs are a much better cooling/insulating force than white paint. They even “eat” CO2, not that that’s a good thing.

  17. “Yep, that’s the big plan. Paint your roofs white.”
    Your little bit of sarcasm here is misplaced. When people ask me if I’m against global warmists, I say yes and then counter with applying the wasted money for real, often common sense practices. Clinton’s suggestion is a small win-win for improving green practices and supplying jobs. Must you clown everything that is suggested by a liberal? I’m against alarmism but I’m for good common-sense green ideas. A good idea is a good idea, no matter who suggests it.

  18. Seems like a reasonable idea – but it is not possible.
    The UK government will need mankind’s entire supply of whitewash for years to come for the dozen or so “independent” investigations into the phone hacking scandal (this, from the same folks that gave you climategate).

  19. At least the “snow-job” king knows that black objects absorb heat & white objects tend to reflect it!Many european domestic properties,in Spain, Portrugal, & Italy, where light-weight reinforced concrete is the norm for construction, as is so in southern France, the roofs are covered with light colour water-proofing finishes anyhow! Insulation on the outside utilizes the thermal mass/store of the material, all you then need to do is address interstitial condensation issues & you’re done! On a negative note, with cast-insitu RC frames the infill is with hollow core clay type blockwork, unfortunately this is rarely properly bonded in courses nor back to the frame, is rendered almost immediately in searing temperatures, after blockwork is finished & you end up with significant thermal shrinkage & cracking externally! They look nice from a distance but awful close up!

  20. .
    Why are these nerds continually trying to reinvent the wheel? Or, put another way, why is America (and other parts of the world) continually trying to ignore the wheel, and make some kind of hexagonal or octagonal contraption that does not roll?
    If you go to the Med, you will find that all the houses are made of bare stone and painted white, grouped close together for shade, and with cold bare tile floors. If you go to the UK you will find that an old market town will have wooden houses painted deep yellow or red ochre (a fashion now is to paint them white), while inside we have warm carpets.
    I have never understood why in the US, they build towns with wide boulevards and separate houses, in regions that are burning hot. Surely you should build the Med style, with 4-story flats close together, so little or no sun hits the ground. Or at least have cowboy-town style awnings over the pavements. The number of towns I have been to in the southern US, where there is no shade for pedestrians, is annoying.
    .

  21. With all these stupid ideas running round the real problem that America has, massive debt and the destinct possibility that your AAA credit rating could be downgraded, is being ignored.
    Confusion about green policies and crap ideas to reduce so called ‘carbon pollution’ will run the US into the ground for no gain whatsoever.
    Rid yourselves of the EPA would go a long way to help.

  22. Quite apart from any earthtone shingle neighborhood deed restrictions, has anyone considered what painting shingles will do to their 30 year warranty?

  23. There is another problem. Look at this graph here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/orssengo3.png
    acc. to the above model, which closely agrees with my own fiindings
    for the past 37 years:
    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming
    especially when you look between 1910 and 2060…. (+0.01C /annum)
    we can expect some substantial cooling between 2010 and 2030
    I suspect that what happened in the fourties, fifties and sixties (blue area) could happen again:
    too much white snow on earth reflects radiation forcing the climate a lot cooler.
    I therefore suggest we wait a little with painting our roofs all white.
    Maybe until we see the type of warming happening as predicted by the IPCC (green line)?

  24. Is paint environmentally friendly? I mean lots and lots of it. Remember it’ll need to go on every four to seven years.

  25. Don’t heap praise on the former pervert-in-chief just yet, even you liberals looking for something to cheer yourselves up.
    Clinton specifically mentioned Chicago and New York. No way in either of these places does Air-Conditioning usage exceed Furnace usage.
    You are typically using A/C in July and August, and if you are really lucky expand that to June to September, ONE THIRD of the year.
    Furnaces could be running from October to May or June these days. Almost TWO THIRDS of the year.
    Arizona and Nevada maybe, if the neighborhood association or zoning board doesn’t mind uglying up the adobe theme in a picturesque development. But New York and Chicago? He’s nuts.
    However, there will be consequences. Since everything is inevitably driven down to the lowest bidder, how does Chinese paint particles washing off the roof through the gutter into the ground water sound to you? Or the EPA? Oops!
    Decisions, decisions. 😉

  26. There’s an ongoing experiment with several green roofs that I have been following and one of the stations includes a white painted roof (at Queens Botanical gardens, NYC): http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/thermal-absorption-a-black-and-white-and-green-issue/
    The white roof does not reach as high a maximum temperature as the black roof at the same site, but it does cool more slowly to the same minimum and has a lower average temperature.
    The set up shows quite well how the various surfaces respond on sunny vs overcast days. The real winner is the green roof, but performance depends on the subsurface preparations.

  27. All those scientist chasing sea levels, AGW, et al, should be assigned to develop an extremely cheap, spray on compound which reflects when it’s hot and absorbs when its cold and kills roof fungus. They wouldn’t need to be going around looking like idiots waving the odd hockey stick and carrying all those tin cups chanting “alms for the fraud”. Plus, even I would buy their product.
    Oh, and if they could make the visual effect be green then they’d also have created a, for real, green job that’s actually productive. Imagine.

  28. mosomoso says:
    July 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm
    Tony, a retired Australian electrician, has been trying to point out a single and massive energy saving measure that cannot fail. Because his thinking is rooted in such antiquated Australian virtues as make-do, thrift and commonsense it does not filter through to the commentariat.
    Whether you object to CO2, particulates or crummy energy supply, this is the one big thing to do now.
    http://papundits.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/co2-emissions-reduction-a-radical-plan/
    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    I recommend this to one and all.

  29. i applaude clinton for actualy doing something that will reduce the urban heat island. I agree the idea has been around for many years. I just hope the dwellers in cold climate understand the effects in the winter !!

  30. What a brilliant Idea!
    I wish I had thought about it when I put a roof on my house 20 years ago here in Georgia, USA * and the roofer asked me what color tiles to use. Oh that’s right I did! I can’t tell you if it made a difference (I think it did) but it seemed to make sense at the time.
    In reply to David Schofield:
    You mentioned the need for algaecide. I didn’t think about that until I saw my roof discolor. I went up there, sprayed it with algaecide and took the shortcut down when the ladder slipped under me. One cracked rib, impressive bruises and an ambulance trip to the hospital to X-ray my neck and back. I haven’t hit it with algaecide since.
    In reply to Mike McMillan:
    Wondering what the paint would do to a roof certainly did cross my mind. I college, back when I had hair, I got on the roof of my fraternity house to mop gallons of tar around the flat roof The first thing we discovered was that tar wasn’t paint and wouldn’t flow like paint. The second thing we discovered was that the mops absorbed about a quart of the tar for starters and as a result we couldn’t really apply it. Mostly we ended up pushing the gravel around to no effect except to call “the man” to put a new roof on. Georgia Tech by the way is a well regarded engineering school and being the brilliant college students that we were we were WAY smarter then the guys that actually knew what they were doing. The good news is that we all ended up with tar on our shoes, hands and clothes. You may be surprised but tar doesn’t come off easily.
    Anyway, I suspect that the paint will fleck off quickly. It will also void any warranty in effect.
    * Georgia is considered one of those hot places.

  31. I have for many years been mooting this and I have on a couple of occasions when posting comments on this site discussing the impact of UHI suggested that perhaps one cheap proposal would be to paint biuldings and roofs white. I never thought that I would see the days when politicians ponder upon a cheap and practical solution. Not high tech enough nor costly enough to warrant the interests of politicians.
    As others have pointed out, it is not a universal panacea and depends upon lattitude and of course has seasonal ups and downs. That said, I doubt that much heating in winter is obtained through having a dark coloured roof since heat flows upwards not downwards and thus the heat absorbed by the roof will largely be trapped in the loft space (albeit I accept that that in itself will reduce heat loss from lower floors).
    One would need to carefully consider what the albedo effect would be and the impact of seasonal variations to see whether this is little more than a gimmick

  32. For those who still make an effort to have a sensible response to Clinton’s proposal just realize that the man is a cheating hack and an idiot. Period.

  33. I did this to my house in Australia. It works a bit, but I think its colder in winter 🙁

  34. dmmcmah says:
    July 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    If you search this site you will find many comments and even articles on the temperature adjustments to which you are referring.
    The temperature gate keepers have for many years been making adjustments to the temperature records, the effect of which is to increase more recent temperature data and reduce older temperature data. In particular the !930 temperature data has been downwardly adjusted on about 9 occassions!
    The problem is that when these adjustments are made, no accompanying record is given as to why the adjustment is being made. No one knows whether the adjustments are justified or whether they are made simply to further the cause; by depressing past temperatures and increasing more recent temperatures, the impression given is that there has been a more significant and rapid rise in temperatures during the past 100 years.
    Many consider that these constant adjustments to the temperature record have so bastardised the temperature record that it is no longer possible to have any faith in what it says. This is party what the Berkeley project is attempting to look at. Of course, you must bear in mind that temperature alone is not a complete metric of the energy budget. Surprisingly, save with respect to the temperature of the oceans, we are not measuring the energy budget..

  35. Nothing of note. I live in Malta (Mediterrenean) where we have +30C for a month or two, with a few weeks at +35C and sunshine all the way. We have flat roofs. I painted mine white long before we had this AGW b.s. But it turns blsckish with time due moss and fungal growths that thrive in winter rain, night dew and high humidity during some months.
    What we don’t have are temperatures as the New Yorkers have in winter. So, it could be advisable that for New Yorkers, black roofs offer more energy savings in winter than white roofs in summer. Sarc on>Maybe someone would invent a paint that can change colour with temperature, and gets the Nobel prize for inanities< sarc off.

  36. The next time my missus says she’s got the painters in I guess she’ll just be doing her bit for the environment.

  37. In a previous thread on this topic, a few posters described a smart method being used in Israel (and previous to that, in some US military buildings in the S. Pacific) on slanted roofs. A plywood covering about four inches above the regular roof is installed, with a vent along the ridgeline that is closed in the winter, when the air barrier serves as insulation. In summer, air flows by convection up through the space under the plywood covering, carrying away heat from the roof and out the vent.
    Such an item would be much more costly to install, but also much more effective. And it would work in all climates. Plus it would double the lives of the roofs underneath them.

  38. I looked at using white shingles when I was getting a new roof a while ago in the interest of cutting my electric bill. The roofer I spoke with said white ones are more expensive but there is a tax deduction that offsets it in the neighborhood of $2,000(+/-).

  39. What we sometimes do in Malta, same latitude as Israel, we cover our flat roofs with 70% solar reducing nets during the worst twomonths. July and August. We remove them early September prior to the storm season. Sometimes, the first late-August storm would blow them away.

  40. dmmcmah says:
    July 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm
    “I noticed that now all the numbers are different, but what’s really strange is the anomalies for 1998, 2006, 1999, 2001, and 1990 all got larger, but the anomalies for 1934, 1921, and 1931 all shrank. What is this about?”
    That’s how one creates man made global warming.

  41. Roger Knights says:
    July 19, 2011 at 4:21 am
    “A plywood covering about four inches above the regular roof is installed, with a vent along the ridgeline that is closed in the winter, when the air barrier serves as insulation. In summer, air flows by convection up through the space under the plywood covering, carrying away heat from the roof and out the vent. Such an item would be much more costly to install, but also much more effective. And it would work in all climates. Plus it would double the lives of the roofs underneath them.”
    Not so good in hurricane prone areas. Don’t forget cleaning all the debris that will accumulate under the plywood. If you want to keep your house cooler, make sure your soffits are clean and plant trees & bushes to lower the insolation on the roof and sunny side of the house.

  42. .Roger Knights says:
    July 19, 2011 at 4:21 am
    This is a similar principle to that used on Land Rovers built for tropical use.

  43. Like others pointed out, it’s not a bad idea, but is it really worth as much as they’re making out? And like someone else also pointed out, what about temperate zones during winter? You don;t need your house cooled, but you need it warmed during winters.

  44. Kasuha says: July 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    “Uhhh… basic physics lesson here, white surfaces have lower energy radiation too.”
    I’d have thought your average home would emit in the infra-red rather than the visible spectrum, unless you have emigrated to the sun. This reminds me of some people who think you should paint your radiators black to make them better ‘black body’ radiators. I’d hope most radiators don’t glow in the dark as that would seem a bit of a safety issue.

  45. Kasuha says: July 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm “Uhhh… basic physics lesson here, white surfaces have lower energy radiation too. So if you have a building which you intend to thermally insulate it’s better to paint it white in any weather conditions.”
    No. Only at night where, on a cloudless night, the temperature of space to which one is radiating is a few kelvin. Then, yes, your roof will radiate to space so white is good to retain heat. In a hot climate you might be pleased to lose heat at night, though, so you have a cooler house in the morning and don’t need to turn on the aircon until later in the day. But when it’s cold and you have that big yellow thing in the sky at a colour temperature of a few thousand kelvin then a black roof will absorb much more than it radiates, so the net effect is to heat the building.
    So in a colder climate you’re best with a black roof in the day, and a white roof at night. And in a warmer climate you’re best with a white roof in the day and black roof at night. A skin over the roof in a material that can be turned from black to white (by, say, electric potential) would enable the best optimization.

  46. Funny how people with agendas always have to rewrite history to support their cause. 🙁

  47. OT –
    Will we be seeing a post about the recent sea ice behavior any time soon? There’s been hardly any lately, compared to the last few years at WUWT. Has something changed?
    [Reply: See the latest related post. ~dbs, mod.]

  48. It is so weird how global warming is so much more acute in the summers! If we could get that summer energy usage down we could lick the problem!

  49. Latex or white-wash? That will affect the microclimate of those roof-top temperature stations and we won’t get as many record highs.
    /sarc

  50. @Ralph
    You said “I have never understood…”
    Neither did your ancestors. That is why we have an America and you have the idea that 4-story flats close together are desirable living quarters.

  51. Are these green jobs? Couldn’t we make more green jobs by hiring one group of people to put up black roofs, another group to remove the black roofs and a third group to install white roofs?

  52. “Keynes said that it was better for an economy to pay someone to dig a hole and fill it in again, than to just let them be unemployed.”
    One of the many reason’s why Keynes was an idiot. Bastiat refuted this fallacy years before Keynes was even born.

  53. I think they should hire kids to break windows, then hire window installers and repair them with EV glass; unionized of course.
    @HenryP.
    Don’t you realize this is a preventive measure? 🙂 Heck, think of the possibilities. Black painters for winter and white painters for summer. Unemployment no longer a problem!
    Heck, if we paved the streets with gold I bet that would save lots of energy!

  54. dmmcmah says:
    July 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm
    This sounds fishy and I’m hoping someone can explain why 1998 is now the hottest year on record and why 2006 has displaced 1934.
    It is called the Hansen adjustment whereby temperatures are adjusted to better match the models.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/27/james-hansens-former-nasa-supervisor-declares-himself-a-skeptic-says-hansen-embarrassed-nasa-was-never-muzzled/
    From: Jtheon [mailto:jtheon@XXXXXXX]
    Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2009 10:05 PM
    To: Morano, Marc (EPW)
    Subject: Climate models are useless
    Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done.

  55. Byz says:
    July 19, 2011 at 12:05 am
    the problem is Mr. Clinton want these jobs paid for by the government and when the government pays for jobs there are 3-10 taxpayers that have to pay the salary of that one person that is the problem with Keynes and with any government jobs they are a net drain on the economy. And while the Idea painting roofs white has merit as Anthony said in hot climes painting my roof white would cost me money in the winter and wouldn’t save me enough in the summer to make it the right thing to do.

  56. In most of the US, white roofs are a good idea. In North Dakota, there usually isn’t enough sun to matter in the winter, should you have a black roof, and your black roof may be covered with snow for much of the time in any case. And if it gets to 90 degrees in Minot, which it does, you may want that white roof anyway.
    There are lots of bad ideas and corrupted IPCC science to mock, and this blog does a great job of it. But leave white roofs alone, they can actually save money and make a house more comfortable in the summer. No, it won’t save a lot of CO2, but almost nothing other that a huge nuclear build out would.

  57. Businesses would already be doing with this their buildings if it saved them money. I suspect there are pratfalls in the white roof meme.
    Some that I know about from own research a couple years ago:
    – It’s not advisable for mineral shingle roofs. The paint contracts when dries causing the shingles to curl.
    – The paint itself is expensive. It isn’t cheap whitewash. Home Depot sells it. Check out the price per gallon and coverage provided. It’s about as expensive as the shingles. The price is commensurate with the life of the product and also with the reflectivity.
    – It doesn’t bear a lot of foot traffic. Many flat roofs are used as patio space.
    – In cooler weather when interior heating is required a dark roof is an asset not a liability.
    – Glare. If the roof is in view the glare on a bright sunny day is blinding.
    – Appearance. If a white roof is aesthetically pleasing it’s probably already white.
    – Cleaning. If a white roof isn’t kept fairly clean any benefit from higher reflectivity diminishes. A lot of water is required for cleaning and fresh water is a limited resource where conservation measures, especially in hot regions where a white roof makes the most sense, are more vital than conserving energy.
    So what I did for most of the reasons above is chose a white-mineral roof shingle for my experiment in high energy efficiency here in south central Texas. The glare is tolerable as the reflectivity is good (not great) and the mineral stones diffuse it somewhat. The greatest single benefit by far was sinking it into a north-facing hillside. The temperature of the ground here below a depth of 3 feet is 72F year round which is ideal for earth-berm construction and/or sunken structures so I took advantage of it.
    – The service life of the paint is far less than most roof coatings requiring repainting every 5 – 10 years.

  58. Kasuha says:
    July 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    Uhhh… basic physics lesson here, white surfaces have lower energy radiation too. So if you have a building which you intend to thermally insulate it’s better to paint it white in any weather conditions.

    Not really. The colour of the paint on a surface makes very little difference to emissivity – it’s the material that matters. It may be that some white paints are made of materials with low emissivity, but that’s a different matter. I think the ideal material for what you’d want is aluminium, which has very high reflectivity and very low emissivity.

  59. Byz says:
    July 19, 2011 at 12:05 am
    Keynes said that it was better for an economy to pay someone to dig a hole and fill it in again, than to just let them be unemployed.
    Eventually this became known as “civil service”, or “government work”.

  60. I also think that not any ol white paint will do.
    In order for it to be reflective it has to have some crystaline properties. Like snow.
    Aluminium paint might work. But it is expensive.
    A better idea might simply not to remove snow in winter. That will help with cooling….

  61. OT Your are probably working on it but the Wallis-Climategate-Police story seems to be getting clearer all the time!

  62. From the economic side, one very big point is missing. The supposed energy savings, translates into cost savings, and that translates into lower profits for the power companies.
    Your power rates will go up to compensate for the lost revenue. They’re doing that right now here in Reno.
    The energy savings from all the conservation measures have been successful, but income to NV Energy has been reduced as a direct result. They want their money, so they’ve proposed rate increases to offset the losses.
    Saving energy may be a sound environmental idea, but it isn’t translating into more money in your pocket.

  63. I care about my pocket book. If I lived in Arizona instead of NE Oregon, you can bet I would have a heat reflective roof.
    I have a roof on the ranch house that is 4900 sq ft in surface area. It is black. I chose the color and paid a huge sum to have that roof redone. I stay relatively warm in winter, and thankfully cool in summer.
    That said, no one is going to be allowed to dictate to me what color to put on that roof or how much to spend on it. No one.
    Clinton is engaging in the two worst actions of liberal politics. He believes in giving tax money away when there is none to give, and growing yet another governmental agency to oversee the new program.

  64. “But if you live in Minot,ND or International Falls, MN your white roof will not absorb as much sunlight in winter, thus requiring more energy for heating.”
    I live in Vermont and I can assure you that my roof is white all winter. White paint is not going to change that in any way.

  65. HenryP says:
    July 19, 2011 at 6:20 am

    No, any white paint will do if you’re talking about reflecting incoming solar energy. It’s quite simple – the fact that something looks white is how you know it is reflecting rather than absorbing most of the visible light energy. That’s not to say some white paints aren’t better than others (particularly as regards energy in non-visible wavelengths), but it would be wrong to think only specialised paints will do the trick.

  66. Has anyone thought about where all the white pigment will come from? Most “white” is from titanium dioxide. The minerals that contain titanium such as rutile are not very abundant. For all I know, maybe China or Saudi Arabia have the world’s greatest supply of titanium bearing minerals. Or maybe we should use “white lead” as old fashioned white paint did. Oh, I know, I know, maybe Al Gore and Bill Clinton can start a titanium mining company (very, very heavily subsidized with massive new federal taxes). Yeah, that’s the ticket, that will surely save the world from this horrible climate change which doesn’t seem to be happening at all.

  67. The Rolling Stones can remake one of their hits. “I see a black roof and I want it painted white. “

  68. Florida did a big study of roofing reflectances which I haven’t read for a while, but I think this is it:
    http://www.dca.state.fl.us/fbc/commission/FBC_0210/Green_Roofs/FSEC-CR-1220-00.pdf
    What I remember is
    1. Aluminum works better than white paint for flat roofs, but is a big improvement over black tar. You can buy flat roofing fabric that is already aluminum color. It’s more expensive, but well worth it. If you Google Earth Queens, you’ll find that maybe 2/3 of the flat roofs already are silver. This idea has been around since at least 1956, when my engineer father ran the numbers and applied a 5 gallon bucket of aluminum paint to the tar roof of an old building he was using as a photometric laboratory in Boulder.
    2. Color isn’t everything in shingles. You want good reflectivity of solar radiation as well as good radiation of long-wave IR. Black is bad, and light is good, but brown is a lot worse than blue tones (as I recall). There are colorless (?) coatings that will greatly improve IR radiation and maybe even reflectivity. Perhaps you can buy shingles with the coating already on.
    3. White tiles were popular in Florida in the 1920s and very effective, but with AC everyone switched to Mediterranean red tiles. There are flecked files that are almost as good as white but not as harsh visually.
    4. The report has lots of stuff on bare vs painted corrugated metal roofs. I forget which is best.
    The reflectivity of urban roofs won’t affect global temperatures perceptibly, but could substantially reduce the demand for AC and therefore energy, which is expensive and generates real pollutants in addition to harmless CO2, so it makes sense to give it a try. Especially in warm climates where winter heating is not a big expense.

  69. If it were such a good idea, and actually saved money, people would already be doing it. Nor would they need a guvment taxpayer-funded “program” to do it.
    The idea reeks of politics and of Greenie pie-in-the-sky ideology.

  70. Global warming has been created in models and theory that is detached from reality and that is how I will paint my roof white.

  71. “It is called the Hansen adjustment…”
    Recently we had a minimum for a Spring day which was extremely low for the mid-coast of NSW. I decided to check the BOM for an official temp. Sure enough, the temp reading was amazingly low for a day so far into the Spring. This was just one very rare occasion when I happened to check and to remember.
    By evening, half a degree had been added to the reading.

  72. Shingles…
    I just so-happens to be at a point to reshingle my 5000 sq-ft roof.
    Turns out that the so-called 35-year shingles lasted only 14 years. According to IKO, the crappy shingles that need replacing were their “Organic” shingles. IKO’s foray into appeasing the Greenies in the 1990’s yielded substandard shingles and more money OUT of my pocket.
    I’ll stick to black asphalt….One bitten, twice shy.

  73. By deflecting light and heat, wouldn’t white roofs actually contribute to atmospheric warming? The solar energy has to go somewhere.

  74. Yes, let’s paint all the roofs white and install acres of black PV panels, yes, that should do it! /sarc

  75. Henry@Paul S
    Sorry Paul, but I am really not sure about that.
    For example, if I look from the top (flying over) then my zinc galvanised corrugated roof seems to reflect a lot more light then the white walls (of my house). How do you explain that?
    If you really like to cool the planet, don’t you think it is a better idea to refrain from removing all the snow in winter? My investigations seem to support the notion that some warming is happening in the NH due to removal of snow in the winter months, e.g.
    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/the-weather-in-holland
    I saw the same thing happening in Norway.
    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming
    (removal of snow is not really a green activity, you know)

  76. I’m fine with it as long as the building owners who realize the energy savings are paying the bill. I have a feeling though that Clinton prefers a government program paid for by taxpayers or by borrowing a few trillion more.
    I am involved in the roofing industry and ordinary white paint won’t work. There are good white reflective coatings that will do the job, but they are quite expensive.

  77. Lots of great responses here to the “paint all the roofs white” scenario. A liberal comes up with a “great” idea and wants to impose it on the citizens. Except it ain’t so simple, is it? The cost of the technology, the net energy savings by locale, the practicality of the idea, the geopolitical costs for acquiring the materials, the benefits of alternative technology and materials – they’re all in heavy dispute.
    Sounds a lot like the AGW gabfest, doesn’t it? Nothing clearcut any more.

  78. It is an affordable solution that would help to sustain employment levels in the construction energy.
    The recently released SDO videos by NASA have me concerned however with an hypothesized comparison to the Carrington Event whose surface energy splashback is thought to have energized the last 150 years of sunspot (can see Van der Waals forces continue to push diffuse energy resources to the surface that are not sufficiently congealed so as to overcome Lorentz forces and having the Carrington Event splash back overcome that.) From this viewpoint, the Carrington Event appears to be an indication of the idea that the heliosphere encountered greater magnetic density within the local fluff. It implies that the sun’s surface has exhausted the Carrington energy bonus and still finds itself in magnetically denser portions of the local fluff. Does it respond by reducing sunspots, having its core become more massive with energy products that cannot escape which thus force a tightening of the gravitational current sheet…changes the planetary orbital plane….coriolis conditions especially in higher latitudes…tectonics/magentism…………

  79. The problem with white roofs is that they get dirty very fast, loosing much of their ability to reflect heat. Silver is a better choice as the loss of reflectivity with dirt is less. I had a flat roof on a townhouse I once lived in. Keeping the roof clean was a frequent and major chore and required lots of water – multiply that across all the flat roofs in Arizona and you could have an unsustainable increase in water use. My current house has green concrete tiles on a pitched roof with a radiant barrier underneath, very thick insulation above the cieling, and a well ventilated attic. The combination of these technologies outperforms a flat roof painted white. Painting the roof white – which my homeowner’s association forbids – would probably add nothing to the performance of the roof system. And the desert dust would turn it brown in no time. The energy efficiency of a home depends on so many factors that a “paint the town white” panacea has no hope of having a payoff. If our landscaping rules would allow me to plant the kinds of trees that would really shade my house . . .

  80. Byz says:
    July 19, 2011 at 12:05 am
    Keynes said that it was better for an economy to pay someone to dig a hole and fill it in again, than to just let them be unemployed.
    Regardless of the value of the work, if people work they pay taxes and more importantly get into the habit of working (you should see the youth over here in the UK they don’t want to work).
    ======================================================================
    And Keynes was wrong! Even if they pay taxes, it is still a net negative to the govt. budget. BTW, the painter wouldn’t pay any taxes here in the U.S. except the state and local sales taxes. We’re not going to pay them enough for them to pay fed income taxes. They would be in the lower bracket which would receive additional money from the federal govt. Job programs don’t work unless the benefits of the labor exceed the costs. And if the benefits would exceed the costs, odds are it already would have been done by the private sector.(there are a few exceptions)
    As far as getting people into the habit of working, that’s easy. Quit making people comfortable in poverty. To be sure, we should take care of their needs but nothing else. There will always be people who wish to game the system and there will always be people that simply don’t wish to work, however, when not working exceeds the benefits of working then there is a problem. This is what is occurring today, in the U.S. and many other developed western nations. Largely, we’ve Keynes to thank for this.
    Specifically to this idea, let us all quit pretending Clinton came up with it. He didn’t. Secondly, this isn’t a jobs program that would mean anything. Likely, the employees would be teenagers. Teenager income doesn’t do anything but create upward pressure on pricing. (Inflation) Why? Because their wants and needs are already taken care of. Either through the state or the more traditional, parenting. So, any income received, with very few exceptions, goes to frivolity. Care to guess why I-pods carry such a price? Or play stations? Or any other useless gadgets so prevalent throughout our society? Because, the typical teenager’s income is 100% disposable.

  81. It’s Bill Clinton folks . . . . he also thought getting an intern to lip-pock his dicky wasn’t “sex”.
    The man is few raisins short of a fruitcake.

  82. I suspect that in fact Most roofs will end up being green. Quite literally, because unless you are prepared to do this annually, mosses and lichens will grow on the roofs (whether black or white), an agin this may be a waste of time and expense. It should be up to the individual to decide.
    What is to happend to the scenic patchwork of multicouloured shingle and pantile roofs, which make so many of our urban environs so inofensive to the aesthetic eye., or doesn’t that actually matter anymore ?

  83. Some companies plant grass on the roof. It reduces the roof temperature and provides a great place for corporates execs to practice their golf game.

  84. Mike McMillan says:
    July 19, 2011 at 2:10 am> has anyone considered what painting shingles will do to their 30 year warranty?
    We had our old roof painted white and the claim by the new roofer was that paint can damage shingles. Our old roof subsequently leaked, but hard to know if it was the paint or the previous owner did things on the cheap (seen in other items around the house). So before painting any roof I would advise understanding what it will do to the existing surface.

  85. Pamela Gray says:
    July 19, 2011 at 6:43 am
    That said, no one is going to be allowed to dictate to me what color to put on that roof or how much to spend on it. No one.
    Clinton is engaging in the two worst actions of liberal politics. He believes in giving tax money away when there is none to give, and growing yet another governmental agency to oversee the new program.
    ====================================================================
    Those are two very bad actions so typical of that political persuasion, but as you alluded to in the previous paragraph, it is the usurpation of liberty which is the most insidious. More often than not, we can see that while they excel at liberty usurpation and they usually accomplish it with our monies. The only thing more despicable is the general public apathy and acceptance towards such actions. But, as we see, much of the slumbering public is awakening to the totalitarian trend.

  86. DJ says:
    July 19, 2011 at 6:41 am
    From the economic side, one very big point is missing. The supposed energy savings, translates into cost savings, and that translates into lower profits for the power companies.
    Your power rates will go up to compensate for the lost revenue. They’re doing that right now here in Reno.
    ========================================================================
    Absolutely. It is what power companies do. This is what occurs when electricity is beyond its normal cost. If this nation is ever to be economically competitive in the global market again, our electricity should be so cheap that is isn’t much of a concern. It wouldn’t be today if we hadn’t had the decades long of continuous opposition to cheap electricity. Imagine what this nation’s industrial output would be if their electric bills were halved or even reduced more! It could and should happen, but it won’t.

  87. Hu McCulloch and Keith R are basically correct: Painting the roofs silver is a much better color.
    Silver or aluminum(ized) is better for another reason: A shiny silver also has low emissivity, which means it doesn’t give off heat, either. That means that in the wintertime the silver will be better than white, which will allow heat to escape.
    One more factor is that the coarse texture of roof tiles provides much more surface area with which heat can be absorbed or emitted, The less surface area, the better. I recall a flat panel radiant portable electric heater from about 1980 that was very low temperature, but was coated with sand to increase the radiating surface. Smooth is better than rough.

  88. To the people who say that roofs are a very small part of the US/world’s surface, so painting them white won’t make much/any difference: fortunately we don’t see the need to air condition roads, carparks, and so on.
    We do however tend to use AC for homes, office and factories, which coincidentally tend to coincide with roofs. Therefore painting white (if the act of painting reduces AC – and perhaps heating – costs over the medium term) makes obvious sense.
    Also worth remembering that the warmists have “demonstrated” that UHI has very little effect on temperature measurement. That is hard to reconcile with the idea that the colour of buildings, white or otherwise, makes a difference to the amount of heat absorbed.

  89. Some more ideas: chrome your roof, or paint it grey to split the diff between summer and winter, or use colour-changing paint (like sunglasses that get darker in the light), or give into the green agenda: demolish your house and move into a grass hut.
    White roof? I think Clinton is just pining for the Whitehouse. Poor old schmuck is feeling irrelevant.
    But I don’t think this is his idea anyway; I heard the greenies going on about this years ago.

  90. This reminds me of the idea to paint street signs with upper and lower case letters because they are supposedly easier to read, an idea Bloomberg supported for a while, it turned out the idea can from a company that makes sign paint.
    Before we go off embracing this idea wholesale, I would like to see numerous real world peer reviewed studies done with a larger sample size than just Walmart, and with different roof types, and not funded by the paint industry. Even then I would be leery. There are plenty of studies showing that roundabouts work, but in my real world experience I hate them.
    In any event, government should have nothing to do with it.

  91. “The Great Jobs Debate” … paint your roof. How cynical.
    What’s up with the United States of America? A former powerful and proud nation.
    What looks like a reasonable proposal is the typical stupid-green feel-good idea.
    Willis Eschenbach has done the math early in this discussion, showing how senseless it is.
    We better make that clear instead of following the green “mega”trend.
    Or let us turn it around somehow, as these guys have done with lightbulbs regulation: http://www.heatball.de/en/.
    It’s so good.

  92. Haters gonna hate…
    I think it’s a great idea from the greatest U.S. President of my lifetime!
    He didn’t say anyone should be forced to do it.
    He didn’t say the government should give tax breaks to people who do it.
    He didn’t propose a big government spending program to do it.
    Clinton just said it would be good for America if it happens.
    He said building owners would quickly save money by doing it.
    A logical extension is that the U.S. Government should consider ways to encourage it, but that isn’t what the big dawg said.
    This country would be in so much better shape if he had never left the White House.

  93. Roger Knights-
    What you have described is the norm for almost every home in the USA that was built without an attic. The soffits have vents along the underside that channels airflow to vents along the roof peak.
    There is an airspace between the underside of the roofing and the insulation above the ceiling. These are typically not closed in winter, but otherwise act with a similiar effect as the added plywood above an existing roof.

  94. I think white roofs might increase the ice-damming potential in northern climates. An advantage of a darker roof in the snowy winter is occasionally you get some bare spots which heat up quickly (with sunlight) and open roof ventilation pathways, which are usually poor to begin with, clogged with dust or wasp nests if not cleaned regularly. These roof bare spots also help to remove some of the winter snow cover via evaporation and help prevent it from building up.
    With roof snow cover and blocked vents, the attic space heats up (regardless of how much insulation you have), melting the snow, which refreezes over the eves and gutters. It makes an ice dam, and water back up under the shingles and enters the home, causing major damage.

  95. HenryP says:
    July 19, 2011 at 7:56 am
    Sorry Paul, but I am really not sure about that.
    For example, if I look from the top (flying over) then my zinc galvanised corrugated roof seems to reflect a lot more light then the white walls (of my house). How do you explain that?

    The appearance of ‘enhanced’ reflectivity that you’re describing is caused by the particular properties, rather than the magnitude, of reflection from different surfaces. Generally metal surfaces cause specular reflection whereas a matt white paint will cause diffuse reflection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffuse_reflection).
    This is a list of materials showing absorption and emissivity properties for each: http://www.solarmirror.com/fom/fom-serve/cache/43.html
    It lists ‘New Galvanized Metal’ surfaces as providing 0.65 absorption (0 to 1 scale) compared to various white paints 0.2 – 0.4. However it also lists various zinc substances with absorption of about 0.15.

  96. After painting your roof white you’ll have to mount some near-black PV panels on it to make it even more Gaia-friendly.

  97. >>DonS says: July 19, 2011 at 5:29 am
    >>That is why we have an America and you have the idea that 4-story flats
    >>close together are desirable living quarters.
    And in which American town can you walk to the center or to the shops?
    I suppose if you wish to live your life sitting in a traffic jam, you have the right idea for social housing…
    .

  98. Byz says:
    July 19, 2011 at 12:05 am
    “Regardless of the value of the work, if people work they pay taxes and more importantly get into the habit of working (you should see the youth over here in the UK they don’t want to work).”
    I work in Germany and i got into the habit and i gotta kick it; it stinks; the government takes all my money and i’m wasting my life.

  99. The runways etc at Thule AFB are/were painted white to avoid warping the runways. I lived in Bermuda for a short time and most of the roofs there are white, but they serve an additional porpose of water collection.

  100. So these bozos (Chu et al) actually accept that a white roof makes a difference in heat absorbed?
    Presumably they must accept that clouds do the same.
    Are these the same bozos that believe in climate models which are completely unable to model clouds?

  101. John Edmondson says: “To be fair, this is not a bad idea.”
    Not bad. Just atrocious. Some dark, un-insulated roofs would benefit, but this is generally impractical. But what did you expect from Clinton?
    Steve Oregon says: “There are many white coatings but they are usually more expensive than the aluminum coatings that have been used for decades.”
    Yeah, and there’s a reason that white is more expensive: It actually works. A few months exposure, and the aluminum roof absorbtivity goes up by a factor of three. And you have to wash any coated roof down at least once a month. No easy answers here. I started looking at this in 1962 (when I was doing A/e ratio research for a space project.) Another factor to consider is roughness. Rough surfaces will not benefit as much as smooth ones. Painting shake shingles is a stupid notion.

  102. @ James Sexton “BTW, the painter wouldn’t pay any taxes here in the U.S. except the state and local sales taxes. We’re not going to pay them enough for them to pay fed income taxes. ”
    Where is that documented? How do you support that assertion? Seems like a political not factual rant.

  103. anton says:
    July 19, 2011 at 7:34 am
    By deflecting light and heat, wouldn’t white roofs actually contribute to atmospheric warming? The solar energy has to go somewhere.
    ==============================================================
    I have often wondered the same thing.

  104. This is a commercial vendor so take it with a grain of salt but;
    “[snip] is proud to offer our customers products that have earned the US government’s ENERGY STAR label. [snip] Roof Coating exceeds the US ENERGY STAR guidelines for energy efficiency. [snip] reflects 83% of the heat from the sun. When installed properly, [snip] will reduce air conditioning energy costs by as much as 28%, depending on geographic location and individual building characteristics. Heat stress on the roof structure is virtually eliminated. ”

  105. Bystanders says:
    “Where is that documented? How do you support that assertion?”
    Since you seem to know it all, how much per hour will your imaginary roof painters be paid?

  106. Jim Says: “I live in Vermont and I can assure you that my roof is white all winter. White paint is not going to change that in any way.”
    ==============================================================I
    I used to live in Vermont,so I know what you’re talking about.

  107. Great idea, Mr. Clinton. Why don’t you personally come on by and paint my roof, or you personally pay somebody from your own funds to paint it for me, since I can’t afford it?
    And while you’re at it, you might as well pay to have the roof replaced entirely since the paint will no doubt ruin the shingles.
    Or you could just STFU and butt the hell out of my life.
    (I have light grey shingles on my roof; I don’t think they come in white. Also, the attic is well-insulated.)

  108. DirkH says:
    I work in Germany and … i’m wasting my life.
    Warum bleibst du dort? Take the 3 last letters of my screenname as hint.

  109. I need to see the chart of energy difference by latitude and longitude, compensated for cloud cover. (better yet, monthly charts of the same). I doubt it’s as economical as claimed, or smart people would already be doing it in droves.

  110. Bystander says:
    July 19, 2011 at 9:19 am
    @ James Sexton “BTW, the painter wouldn’t pay any taxes here in the U.S. except the state and local sales taxes. We’re not going to pay them enough for them to pay fed income taxes. ”
    Where is that documented? How do you support that assertion? Seems like a political not factual rant.
    =======================================================================
    Goodness, ok, let’s break it down. The question would be how much would you pay,(or the fed govt pay) for someone to whitewash your roof. Unless you put this person at about $35,000 – $40,000/yr, they won’t typically pay federal taxes. I seriously doubt we’ll pay them that much on a “make work” project. History tells us we won’t, especially in the context Bill Clinton put it in, ” a program to hire and train young people.” But, even if the income was taxable, it would still be a net negative in total revenue for the fed govt unless the govt finds some other poor sap to foot the bill. (unfunded mandate)
    Bystander, that wasn’t a political comment, it was simply an observation. $40,000/yr ~ $20/hr. Obviously, this is depends on the filing status of the wage earner, (married, dependents, etc.) Throw in the EIC (lol, the earned income tax credit) and the wage earner will collect more in taxes than payed.

  111. Then we can paint the roofs BLACK for the Winter months, to absorb heat and save energy.
    Paint/re-paint/paint; a marvelous self-perpetuating Jobs program. The economy will boom twice a year.
    Thanks Uncle Bill!

  112. And then in a couple of years when it is clear that the planet is actually cooling, everybody can paint their roofs black. It’s not just a jump-start solution to jobs. It’s a long-term solution!

  113. Someone made this comment above: “If it were such a good idea, and actually saved money, people would already be doing it.”
    Actually, I am doing it. We tried to get our roofer to paint our roof white about 15 years ago, but he only used red paint. Then about 5 years ago, we asked him again. This time he had it, and we went for it.
    Perhaps there just needed to be some demand for white paint, before roofers started using it?

  114. As usual, the problem here is that roof painting will be a temporary job at best, for unskilled workers, with minimal actual production resulting from it. The only way to create real, permanent job growth is to create an environment that encourages business to expand and hire new workers to do productive jobs, to encourage building of physical capital etc. Programs that involve pointless jobs like shoveling dirt in and out of holes or indeed painting roofs are not the key to long term economic growth and higher employment/lower unemployment. People painting roofs could be doing much more productive work.

  115. Duncan says:
    July 19, 2011 at 8:56 am

    You forgot your /sarc tags – or your white coat with the extra long sleeves. But then it is America where even crazies are allowed to speak their mind (or lack thereof).

  116. scott says July 19, 2011 at 8:57 am
    I think white roofs might increase the ice-damming potential in northern climates. An advantage of a darker roof in the snowy winter is occasionally you get some bare spots which heat up quickly (with sunlight) …

    BINGO! (experienced some of this this effect in Texas this year as a matter of fact owing to a combination of conditions: an accumulation of snow preceded by ice all laid down via precipitation then followed by unseasonable cold – for us!)
    I would urge ANYONE considering painting their roof to consider ALL the consequences, especially the troublesome unintended consequences that might appear with time (sometimes referred to as ‘effects experienced over time’) ..
    .

  117. “I think it’s a great idea from the greatest U.S. President of my lifetime!”
    well since you like that one so much, here’s another one of his for you – Bill has invited you to see him personally!
    First, you get under the desk.

  118. With all those hallways, closets, and hideaway rooms, you would think Hillary would have opted for an A-frame with a single open alcove bedroom. With maybe a central tether so she could chain him up when she went out.

  119. Duncan says:
    July 19, 2011 at 8:56 am
    A logical extension is that the U.S. Government should consider ways to encourage it, but that isn’t what the big dawg said.
    That is just typical Liberal “logic”. People like saving money, a concept apparently unknown to Big Government type Liberals, who prefer to just spend it. No, of course Clinton didn’t say anything about a government program, nor did he have to. The “logical extension” you mention is all that’s needed. BTW, I voted for Clinton twice, and I’m not sorry I did. Whatever one thinks of him as a President is immaterial, though. The idea is an abomination, due to your “logical extension”.

  120. Fred from Canuckistan says:
    July 19, 2011 at 8:04 am
    It’s Bill Clinton folks . . . . he also thought getting an intern to lip-pock his dicky wasn’t “sex”.
    Maybe he should paint that white. Maybe white arsenic paint.

    This discussion is more boring than painting the town red!

  121. If you have the capacity, run the figures to determine the area of all the pavement and rooftops on the planet. I did when Chu first brough this up years ago. It is insignificant when placed alongside the entire surface area of the Earth. For starters, oceans cover two thirds of the surface and there are no pavement or rooftops found there.
    The vastness of our planet seems to escape the alarmists. But what do you expect from those that want to limit everything? Apparently these limits include their own capacity to learn.

  122. In northern climes, there is not a lot of sun in the winter. Here in Iowa, we only get about 9 hours of sunshine. Even if the house weren’t covered in snow for much of the year, we wouldn’t get much heat from the sun. The sun is also getting pretty low in the sky, so the color of the sides of the house start to make more of difference than the roof color.

  123. There are many advantages to white roofs. Modern membrane roofs are almost all white now. They stay much cooler in summer, which in northern factories that are not conditioned really makes a big difference. They also last longer since they stay cooler. In Winter in northern areas the roof is often snow covered, so color of roof does not matter for much of the coldest season.
    It is no longer necessary to paint roofs white to achieve high reflectivity. BASF and I assume other companies make coatings for metal roofs that are highly reflective in colors other than white.
    http://www.basf-coatings.de/en_UK/news/2008-02-11_a.xml It’s amazing stuff, as I recall developed for the military or NASA.

  124. i read some of tony the electricians stuff and actually understood what he said.
    in the states we call it a “technical refreshment”. its a bigger version of the light bulb salesmans scam.
    a light bulb salesman comes to the owners/users of a very large industrial building and pitches the following scam. “If you replace all of your area lights with my companies rootin tootin super bulbs you will get the same amount of lumens per square foot as with the old bulbs that you have currently. and whats more they will use 10% less electricity and because of that they will pay for themselves in ten years……. ”
    what he dosn’t say is that they take 240 volts vs the 120 volts that the old system uses which means a godawful amount to rewire the whole under roof to install them and that the light they give is a putrid greenish purple that makes every one look really weird.
    so ok we put the new system in and here he comes in 5 years, working for a different outfit and schlepping another bulb that would pay for itself in 7 years……….
    sooner or later you have to scream “enough, we’re going to go with what we have and run it till it drops.”
    anyone that wants to see examples of this look for the purple green or yellow orange street lights in a town near you.
    C

  125. Painting the roof of a ten story building white does not save much of anything for the building inhabitants, especially if the floor just below the roof is filled with air handling and elevator machinery, plumbing, etc. as these spaces are not normally heated or cooled to the same extent as the rest of the building, and already buffer the living spaces below them.
    Painting the shingled roof of your 1 story ranch-style home in the northeast may not save you much if you have already taken advantage of the incentives to super-insulate your attic and install attic fans. Painting your shingles may void your 20-year roof guarantee.
    Does any paint manufacturer make a paint intended for use on the normal shingled roof used on a huge percentage of American homes? How does painting your roof white affect snow melt-off during the winter and spring — will it result in ice dams? Will it cause roofs to retain too much heavy snow or ice, which usually melts off as soon as one or two spots of dark roofing appear?
    What are the building codes regarding painted shingle roofs? Need the paint be fireproof? (Think the fire-prone hills of Southern California).
    Have any/all these questions been answered, before people run out and paint their roofs with inappropriate paints and make a mess of it?

  126. power drain in summer is hardly excessive … no more so than it is in winter … it is what it is becasue you choose not to sweat or freeze … it is not excessive, it is above average and each persons choice …
    given the R factors in modern insulation if you have a reasonably ventilated attic having a non-white roof really doesn’t cause much house heating …
    It works for a Walmart sized building because
    1) there is little insulation between the roof and the interior air space
    2) generally there is no attic type air space between the roof and the interior and
    3) most of their roofs started out with BLACK tar … I suspect that Walmart would see almost as much savings if they had painted their roofs tan instead of white …

  127. Re Roger Knights on July 19, 2011 at 4:21 am :
    Obviously we’ve been building our houses wrong. The actual house should have a flat roof, sealed, insulated underneath, with an exterior-grade roof access hatch. On top of that is built a normal-looking “false roof” that can be ventilated quite breezily in the warm months. In cold times the ventilation is closed off to allow the sunlight-derived heat to build up, to reduce heat loss from the actual house and for melting snow and ice off the false roof. The area can be used for storage as possible.
    For roofing materials for the false roof, use tin, applied over rafters. It’d be ideal for solar power, if desired. The proven Uni-Solar flexible photovoltaic laminates are designed to be unrolled onto tin roofs, peel and stick. And I’m certain enterprising people can fit coils to the underside of the tin for solar water heating purposes, perhaps even make them “reversible” for quick removal of snow and ice.
    Wow, modern technology and understanding is showing us we’ve been doing something all wrong for thousands of years. How often does that happen?

  128. The problem with this is that every good idea is simply used as the starting point for another government program. First, it’s a good idea, then it graduates into a full blown crisis, then its something every good citizen should do (like recycling), then it becomes a government mandate, then the EPA enforces it with fines and threats of imprisonment. Then it’s ignored (at least in New York City, where everything is illegal, but nothing is enforced).

  129. When I was looking into reducing the temperature in my house, I had three options; Paint the roof with heat reflecting paint (its not just normal paint, but specalised infra-red reflecting paint), pink bat the roof, or vent the roof.
    I did considerable research before hand, including calculations to estimate the amount of temperature reduction I would expect.
    I first cut vents into the roof as that was the cheepest option. It made a very small difference to the inside temperature morning and afternoon (the house cooled quicker in the evening) but zero difference at the peek of the day.
    My estimates put the pink bats as having a larger impact than the paint at a slightly lesser cost (if I installed the bats myself). This made a 2.5 degree C differnce at the peek of the day and made the house quite comfortable.
    I didn’t bother with the paint.

  130. Well I just “painted” my roof white! The elastomeric coating will make the roof last longer giving me a discount on my home insurance, plus the benefit of cooler attic and less air-conditioning use. You could say I did it for “green” reasons, just not the environmental ones. BTW, I live in Florida, so winter is NOT an issue.

  131. When I first heard about painting roofs white, the summer/winter problem was solved by using whitewash. In the spring, use whitewash on the roof. During the summer rains, it washes away and by fall it is dark again, thus gaining more heat during the winter. I think I read it in one of the Popular Science or Popular Mechanics magazines I devoured during the 40’s and 50’s. It is not a new idea.

  132. Look at the areas mentioned in Clinton’s statement, New York and Chicago. I’m sure there are unions that you will have to hire to do this work. And “training” to paint a roof? Another government program to get more people into these union jobs.
    If you scan google maps around the Orlando area, you will see that almost ALL large area roofs are already light colored. We have been doing this for years because it works. I wonder if I can get ARRA to refund my costs since the coating was made locally?

  133. To label this idea as “Bill Clinton’s” is about as ridiculous as it gets – this idea has been around for at least 20 years now. HOA’s don’t cotton to white roofs. Or much of anything. Painting a flat roof ain’t very hard – but try painting a slanted roof. I can see the broken arms and legs of all those NYC kids now. Notice that California exempted slanted roofs, since those will be seen by the neighbors.
    California I think of as one huge, stupid, bankrupt HOA. Which they are.

  134. to quote one poster;
    “It works for a Walmart sized building because…..”
    One thing to remember is the exterior surface area (ability to cool) versus internal volume (thermal capacity) ratio. Most large buildings are hard to cool and easy to heat. Much more so than your typical house. Most large buildings have plenty of heat inside because each person emits about the same amount of heat as a 100 watt light bulb. If properly sealed, a fully occupied office building requires little heat input even in the Northern USA. The building I work in (upstate NY) turns on the AC about April and turns it off in November. The outside temps don’t hit the 80’s until June and fall below the 80’s by September.
    You can see a simple example of this in the ears of an Elephant, due to the small surface area to volume ratio elephants have a hard time keeping cool. One of the main purposes of the HUGE ears is to act as radiators to emit the heat. Mice have relatively smaller ears since they only use them to amplify sound and not to help cool them off.
    The whole canard about painting roofs white has been around since the 1970’s “energy crisis” when we were going to run out of fossil fuels by the mid 1980’s or sooner.
    Yes indeed in southern climes white (or better yet reflective, i.e. aluminized) roof coatings save energy, in the North the opposite is true. Wonder why aluminized roof coatings have been sold in Florida since the 1950’s and still don’t sell much here in the Northeast ? Maybe the common folks have already figured it out ?
    Cheers, Kevin.

  135. “when you don’t know what you’re talking about, the answers to everything seem simple”
    I would suspect that even at a mid latitude like Iowa, where you have to heat in the winter and cool in the summer, your annual energy costs would be lower with a black roof. White roofs are also much more expensive to install and have shorter lifespans becasue they don’t handle the UV as well as good old carbon filled butyl rubber or neoprene.

  136. Here’s what I’ve done that’s enabled me to avoid A/C in Seattle:
    1. Rooftop deck over a dormer roof has shaded it from the sun and greatly reduced its temperature.
    2. Attic fan, thermostatically controlled, draws air in one end of the attic, and down rooftop vents, and out the other end. Gravity-based lovers cover the fan when not in operation.
    3. Huge awnings (DIY installation, bought from Sunsetter (cheap)) on the east and south side of the house keep the sun off. I retract them in the cooler (stormy) months.
    4. Wall fan in the dormer.
    5. Insulation in the rafters.
    A gov’t. loan program to encourage others to do likewise would be a good idea, IMO.
    @ Henry: I don’t have references on sources about these double-decker roofs in Israel. A site search of WUWT should find it (eventually).

  137. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:
    July 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm
    Monckton on the waste of Sec. Steven Chu’s roof painting proposal

    Monckton’s video is amusing as always.
    However, although Chu’s proposal will do nothing for AGW, it still makes sense as a way of reducing AC costs as well as local UHI. Or at least would have if he had advocated aluminized paint for flat roofs and light shingles or tiles for pitched roofs instead of white paint for everything.

  138. False roofers: Areas prone to high winds will usually have building codes that require the rafters be tied down through to the foundation. One cannot just add on a false roof because it will be blown off and destroy neighboring properties. Also, do not forget the reason for shingles. Shingles are designed to be blown off one at a time therefore leaving the integrity of the others in tact. This also lowers repair costs as it is easier and less costly to replace several shingles than an entire section of the roof. So as with any idea, one must examine the entire proposal and consider all consequences of the action.
    Planting large trees to reduce insolation is the easiest way to go. They provide shade in the summer and by losing their leaves allow sunlight in during winter. As an added attraction, raking leaves will get you outside and away from reading blogs all day plus provide some extra exercise.

  139. I once read that the most environment-friendly residence of all US ex-presidents houses is the one owned by Dubbya. God bless him.

  140. Sorry. I think the guy’s a jerk whether his suggestion is a good one or not. My neighbors would have a fit if I painted my roof white, and it would almost certainly make my property impossible to resell where I live.

  141. Hey, just to be fair, Dubya had a black woman running around calling him “My husband” while off on costly ‘religious crusades’ all the while also ignoring the toxic financials, claiming credit for the massive easy home buying and stating he would cut the deficit in half before he left office.
    O Republican
    O Democrat
    √ Educated

  142. Correct me if I am wrong…
    If everyone painted their roofs white then wouldn’t temperatures between 2000 and 25000 feet still warm and overspread surface areas to extent allowed by ERBE processes (Directionality & flow of convective currents-infrared energy). Wouldn’t warming at those heights also increase Upper tropospheric Response Amplitude thereby inhibiting natural ERBE Processes(Higher-warmer- Heights=more drought!!!!Lower-cooler-Heights=Rainmaking Time).
    Anyone?

  143. DJ says:
    July 19, 2011 at 6:41 am
    “From the economic side, one very big point is missing. The supposed energy savings, translates into cost savings, and that translates into lower profits for the power companies.
    Your power rates will go up to compensate for the lost revenue. They’re doing that right now here in Reno.”
    Is that an unintended consequence of granting a monopoly to a privately-owned power company, which is always looking for an excuse to gouge their captive customers? I live in the greater Sacramento metro area, which has two municipal utility districts. Notwithstanding the slogans about the evils and inefficiencies of Big Government, we have significantly lower rates than the surrounding PG&E customers.
    Part of the difference can be explained by the larger transmission line lengths per customer–and the resulting higher fixed costs–in the surrounding exurbs and rural areas. Another consideration is that our Boards of Directors don’t receive 7-figure salaries, and they don’t buy themselves corporate jets when they’re feeling depressed.

  144. Maybe we could get the Republicans, as part of the war on terra, to get the defense department to paint my roof white for the summer and black for the winter until the never-ending war on terra ends. Maybe that way I could get something out of all my tax dollars that are going to the defense department.

  145. If Clinton or Chu were really serious about saving energy they would just call for a ban on air conditioning.
    The side benefit would be that Washington DC is uninhabitable from June to October without AC.

  146. dp [July 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm] says:
    “See it yet?
    Clinton is still delusional or it depends on what the definition of white is.”

    ROTFL!

  147. Tom in Florida says:
    July 20, 2011 at 5:28 am
    False roofers: Areas prone to high winds will usually have building codes that require the rafters be tied down through to the foundation.

    But Israel and the US Southwest don’t have that high-wind problem–or only rarely.

    One cannot just add on a false roof because it will be blown off and destroy neighboring properties.

    How about a retractable (roll-up) fabric awning-type arrangement? Or how about securely attaching the shade-roof to the house by screwing it through the rafters and attaching it with bolts and washers?

    Also, do not forget the reason for shingles. Shingles are designed to be blown off one at a time therefore leaving the integrity of the others in tact. This also lowers repair costs as it is easier and less costly to replace several shingles than an entire section of the roof.

    I had a metal roof installed, like millions of others. Apparently these roofs don’t suffer from this problem–or their other benefits outweigh it. (They have a side-benefit of improving a house’s resistance to earthquake damage.)

    Planting large trees to reduce insolation is the easiest way to go. They provide shade in the summer and by losing their leaves allow sunlight in during winter.

    Make that “deciduous” trees.

    As an added attraction, raking leaves will get you outside and away from reading blogs all day plus provide some extra exercise.

    Unless you have a leaf blower.

  148. Andy Adkins says:
    July 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm
    Correct me if I am wrong…

    To be honest I’m not entirely clear on what you’re saying. If you’re arguing that the use of white paint will simply shift heat energy to another part of the planet then I’ll say you’re wrong.
    The point of white paint is that something is white when it reflects in all wavelengths of the visible part of the spectrum. On the other hand something is black when it absorbs energy in all visible wavelengths. A large proportion of sunlight arrives in the visible range so a white surface will reflect much more energy than a black surface and a black surface will absorb much more energy.
    Locally this means white paint makes a difference because the energy is batted out somewhere else, but it also affects global radiation budget and here’s why: Whether the surface is white or black (or whatever colour), the energy coming into it must be released at some stage. If it has been reflected the energy will retain the same wavelength – in this case it will remain in the visible range, also known as shortwave radiation – whereas if the energy is absorbed it will emit at a wavelength proportional to the temperature of the object. Assuming the object is not as hot as the surface of the Sun energy will emit from it in longer wavelengths and is known as longwave radiation.
    White paint compared to black paint changes the wavelength profile of energy going up from the surface to include a greater proportion in shortwave bands. The atmosphere is mostly transparent to shortwave radiation but is quite opaque to longwave radiation, so shortwave is more likely to escape out to space. Therefore using white paint versus black, or any other plain colour, would actually reduce the global radiation budget.

  149. Paul are you really saying that White paint will permanently change longwave radiation into shortwave radiation that can move unaltered by the properties of air (movement, density,etc)through 50km of atmosphere. Your proposition may work in lab experiments, but it just seems like nonsense every time I bring my kite outside.

  150. Andy Adkins says:
    July 21, 2011 at 7:34 am
    Paul are you really saying that White paint will permanently change longwave radiation into shortwave radiation that can move unaltered by the properties of air (movement, density,etc)through 50km of atmosphere. Your proposition may work in lab experiments, but it just seems like nonsense every time I bring my kite outside.

    No, solar energy arrives at the Earth as shortwave radiation and will either be absorbed or reflected by the objects it hits. If it is absorbed by the surface it will be re-emitted at some point as longwave radiation; if it is reflected by the surface it will remain shortwave. A white surface will reflect more than it absorbs so more energy will remain shortwave.
    The atmosphere as a whole is more transparent to shortwave than longwave so having a greater proportion of energy coming off the surface as shortwave will mean more energy lost to space and less going back to the surface.

  151. As I was saying earlier, to reduce global warming, removal of snow in the north on streets and roofs must be stopped as this is not a natural (green) activity. The paint is not going to work as it does not have the reflective properties of snow. It does seem like minimum temps. are rising in the winter months in the NH due to snow removal, especially in densely populated areas like Holland.
    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/henrys-pool-table-on-global-warming
    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/the-weather-in-holland

  152. My calibrated eyeball tells me that Mr. Clinton has as much blacktop square footage as he does roof square footage. Perhaps he’ll paint it white or tear it up and use a white gravel base of some sort, instead of that evil oil topped park.

Comments are closed.