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A simple way to slash CO2 using color
by Katy Purviance on 02/23/10 @ 10:54:15 am
Categories: Green Design | 271 words | 1157 views

Make your roof a lighter color.

Make your parking lots a lighter color.

Or, if you’re a student, when you’re using your badass expensive prisma colors to color in you design for your studio critic ‘cause she told you to use colors this week, try coloring your parking lots and your roofs white. Think of all the ink you’ll save.

For everybody else, think of all the CO2 you’ll save. Read more:

Anyone who’s crossed a parking lot in August knows that blacktop soaks up a lot of heat. It turns out, rethinking the color of the surfaces around us could help cool the planet.

Roofs and pavements cover 60 percent of urban areas. Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Energy Commission calculated that lightening their color worldwide could have the same effect on global warming as keeping 48.5 billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. That’s roughly the equivalent of taking every car in the world off the road for 18 years. This elegantly simple solution works because of increased albedo—the degree to which reflective surfaces bounce back the sun’s energy.

Closer to home, color-consciousness does more than fight climate change. Choosing roofing material that absorbs less heat can mean substantial energy savings and may qualify for utility-company rebates. Studies show a “cool roof” can cut air-conditioning bills by 20 percent or more. “It’s not only white roofs” says Michelle van Tijen of the Cool Roof Rating Council. The more than 1,400 products in the organization’s online database come in a range of colors, yet are engineered to reflect more heat than traditional shingles.


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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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