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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

28 May 2009 03:05:05

Whitewashing cities could massively cut carbon emissions

Whitewashing cities could massively cut carbon emissions
The low-carbon economy is constantly seeing ever-more complex technologies rolled out to fight climate change but the biggest impact could be made by a simple solution.

According to US energy secretary Professor Steven Chu, painting roofs and streets white so that they reflect more sunlight could significantly reduce man-made emissions.

The Nobel prize winner suggested that cool colours absorb less heat, drastically cutting the amount of energy required for cooling purposes.

He estimated that whitewashing houses and paved surfaces would cut global carbon emissions by as much as removing the world's entire stock of cars from the roads for 11 years.

Professor Chu said: "If that building is air-conditioned, it's going to be a lot cooler, it can use 10 or 15 percent less electricity.

"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."

He also claimed that the US must increase its investment in clean energy research, suggesting that the nation spends $1 trillion on power generation but significantly less than the $100 billion to $200 billion he estimates is required for research.

Earlier this month, President Obama laid out a $26.4 billion request for the Department of Energy's 2010 fiscal year budget which included money to expand the use of clean energies.



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