The White House was aware that U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu would call for flat-topped roofs (both current and new construction) to be painted with white reflective paint. Chu made the remarks on Tuesday at a conference of Nobel laureates in London. “[Chu’s] press people said there wouldn’t be much press coverage,” says a White House aide familiar with the vetting of Chu’s trip.
Chu claimed that a government plan to mandate white reflective roofs would achieve the environmental equivalent of pulling all of the world’s cars off the road for eleven years.
Chu indicated that government regulations would most likely have to require construction firms and developers to paint the flat roofs of building white, and slanted roofs colors that would reflect heat and energy.
A Democratic staffer working on the House Energy and Commerce Committee says that such a policy could be tied to federal housing financing through HUD aid or via tax credits to encourage homeowners to renovate their homes’ roofs with new materials that reflected heat, and the proposal could be included in the upcoming global warming legislation.