White roofs and surfaces could be worth a staggering $1,100 billion according to recent research.
Nobel prize winner Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary, is promoting this change. Chu says just changing the colour of roofs and blacktopped freeways and streets is equivalent to taking all of the automobiles in the world of the road for eleven years.
White reflects heat and a worldwide change would help cool the world. As a bonus, light surfaces can help reduce the cost of cooling buildings which reduces emissions. However, Hashem Akbari, the lead scientist behind some of this research is careful to point out that converting to cool urban surfaces does not address the underlying problem of global warming.
These impressive numbers from white roads and roofs are not the only option. Living green roofs and walls can drop temperatures (and associated air conditioning costs) by as much as eleven degrees.