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Pittsburgh to Brighten Roofs, Cool Off

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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City officials in Pittsburgh, PA, hope to reduce building cooling costs by as much as 15 percent by installing white, solar-reflective coatings to the roofs of 10 city-owned buildings.

Under the new program, “Cool Roofs Initiative,” which officially launched Wednesday (June 12), the city will enlist the help of 200 volunteers to coat approximately 50,000 square feet of dark-colored roofing.

Cool Roofs Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s Cool Roofs Initiative is modeled after New York City’s NYC Cool Roofs campaign. The program utilizes volunteers to assist in this endeavor.

“It’s another step in our efforts to make Pittsburgh a more green and sustainable city,” according to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Cool Roofs to Lower Temperatures

“It has been proven that dark-colored roofs absorb and retain the heat emitted from the sunlight and direct sun rays,” the city said.

“This excessive heat absorption can increase the temperature of roofs and ultimately raise energy costs; additionally, it can augment the urban heat island effect, raising the temperature of urban spaces up to 16 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the surrounding regional areas.”

Roof painting
Cool Roofs Volunteer Guide / pittsburghpa.gov

In the first year of the program, the city expects to engage 200 volunteers.

However, city officials say "Cool Roofs combats the urban heat island effect by reducing the concentration of dark, sunlight-absorbing surfaces."

The Cool Roofs Initiative will also help to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 45 metric tons, the city said on its website.

In 2008, the greenhouse gas emissions for the city totaled 6.7 million tons, according to authorities.

Pittsburgh’s Cool Roofs program is funded by a $100,000 Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The City’s Department of Public Works, Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency as well as the city’s community service program have partnered for the effort.

Those interested in more information or volunteering are invited to contact the Mayor’s Office of Service and Civil Engagement (servePGH) at servepgh@pittsburghpa.gov or 412-255-2280.

Similar campaigns have been launched in other cities around the country, including New York City.

Since its launch in 2010, NYC °Cool Roofs is responsible for “cooling off” 3.7 million square feet of roofs throughout the city, according to its website.


Tagged categories: Cool roof coatings; Environmentally friendly; Government; Green coatings; Solar reflectance

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