What color is your roof?

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 16, 2012
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Update: France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels. All new buildings in commercial zones across the country must comply with new environmental legislation (theguardian.com)

Mirror back Climate Change.

Every time I fly somewhere (which ain’t great for our environment, I look down and see the square footage that is devoted (particularly with warehouses, malls, groceries, other shopping centers) to roofs. And I imagine them planted green, or painted white.

It’d make a huge difference, it’s relatively easy, and can even save the tenant or landlord money.


Everyone Living in a city should do this.

Questions about why this is a good idea, given that hot black roofs come wintertime might seem like a good idea? Answered. Answered on Wikipedia.

Via Bill Clinton’s Back to Work:

The black tar roofs covering hundreds of thousands of American buildings, especially in older cities, absorb a huge amount of heat, requiring much more energy to cool the rooms below. Just painting the roof white can cut a building’s energy use by up to 30 percent on a hot day. Every flat tar roof in every city and town should be painted white.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a program in New York, the Green City Force, to train young people to do this work. A majority of them have been able to parlay their experience into high-skilled training programs or better-paying energy jobs. And lowering the electric bills 20 to 30 percent in every apartment or office frees up cash that utility customers can spend on other things.

We can get even greater energy savings and lower bills by planting greenery or growing gardens on rooftops. It costs more than painting because the roof has to be sealed to prevent leaking and strong enough to bear the extra weight, but the savings are greater.

Unless you’re creating a green roof, or tiling it in solar panels, this is a cheap, easy way to go:

A mini documentary about The White Roof Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to curbing climate change through a simple solution. To find out how you can help visit.
Video by-
Matt Dunne
Justin Baez
Eric Abram
Adam Matos
Andrew Sclafani


Relephant bonus: Roads are made of oil, too!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


One Response to “What color is your roof?”

  1. Jill Barth says:

    Learned something here. Thanks!