So they tested painting the blacktop roads white. The pilot program was declared a success... A success for wet skid tests, durability and lower surface temperatures. Now we all know a lighter color and the color white will reflect heat as darker colors will absorb heat, thus an average 10 to 15 degree decrease was noted with this CoolSeal white paint that is applied twice.
End result, many are saying this is a half baked idea because several concerns are not answered. The first thing I thought about was the paint, with only a 7 year life expectancy, wearing off and washing down the sewers. This in turn will go into our waterways. Was this part of the testing? I found no answer. Next thing I thought about was a solution as easy as planting trees. The solution is planting trees and will cost far less than the $40,000.00 per mile to paint. Additionally, trees last far longer than 7 years, while not putting any paint into our waterways and drinking water tables.
For clarification, when I speak of planting trees, I don't mean Palm trees that cast less shade. Now with extreme heat areas, the water supply for some trees that cast more shade may be crucial. This can be solved by allowing Homeowners on the block to collect rain water off the roof in any number of ways. The extra water supply can be used for their flowers and the trees by the curb. Also looking into building codes to see if lighter color roof material is standard or should become the new code. Light color roof material lowers air cooling costs for Homeowners and when matched with a minimum of R30 insulation on the attic floor, along with a Solar Powered Attic fan, money is saved big time. One more thing, make sure Homeowners have the right amount of open vent space for their attics. Details on all of this can be perused under my Insulation Category found on the right side of this page.
UPDATE: While researching for this topic, I found that the state of Arizona also had the idea of painting roads white presented to them. They have decided to take the side of complete logic by looking into increasing the canopy and foliage along their roads. Smart.
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
Contribute your comments!