NPR logo White Roofs Keep Homes Cooler

White Roofs Keep Homes Cooler

When I was in Phoenix during the election, I noticed something strange — to my eyes, anyway: All the Town Cars arriving at, and departing from, the Biltmore were white. On the East Coast they're black, but in the heat of the desert, of course they're white. The white deflects the sun, keeping the cars' cabins cooler.

What might be Neal's favorite "duh!" example for our "What Works" series is about bridges — at some point, someone realized you only have to charge tolls one way. Well, if white keeps cars cooler, what about your home? Enter "cool roofs."

Studies show that white roofs reduce air-conditioning costs by 20 percent or more in hot, sunny weather. Lower energy consumption also means fewer of the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

Well, duh! Walmart's so convinced of the savings, that "more than 75 percent of the chain's 4,268 outlets in the United States have them." So do you have a white roof? Is it "what works" for you?

*This just in, thanks to a heads-up from Charles at Science FridayPaint The Town White!