Phoenix: $100K for white rooftops

April 25, 2013

The City of Phoenix has received a $100,000 grant to paint municipal rooftops white. The reflective paint helps reduce energy costs and might put a microscopic dent in the city’s urban heat island.

Nancy Selover The city will use grant money to paint 70,000 square feet of municipal rooftops white. State Climatologist Nancy Selover says that is not a lot of space, but it is a good example. (Photo by Peter O'Dowd-KJZZ)

The problem is that energy from the sun gets trapped in the city’s buildings, and it takes a while to dissipate over night. When air conditioners switch on, more heat is released into the urban core.

Climate experts are waiting for the time when overnight lows do not fall below 100 degrees.

Starting this weekend, the mayor’s office said it will use the grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to paint more city rooftops. The city said its 1,500 buildings and 600 recreation centers account for almost half of its greenhouse emissions.

The money will cover 70,000 square feet of rooftops. To put that in perspective, the convention center downtown spans 1.1 million square feet.

“As an increment it may not be huge, but it’s what they can do,” said State Climatologist Nancy Selover. “It’s a good example.”

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