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This story comes from Ian Montanjees, a New Zealand activist.

“I started the White Roofs Project NZ here in New Zealand as part of the 350 day of action on10/10/10, as my way of making a positive contribution at this critical time. White roofs offer one of the fastest and lowest cost ways of helping reduce global warming by mimicking how the polar icecaps reflect sunlight back into space and cool the planet. Around that time I found to my surprise that others around the world also had the same idea as me, there was now a depth of science behind it, and the Obama Administration was implementing it on Federal buildings across the USA. Since 10/10/10 I’ve had emails from around the country, media attention, more white-roofs popping up on houses and businesses, and a positive interest from Auckland City Council.

It’s a win-win solution because white roofs are ‘free’ during regular maintenance or at the design stage when a roof colour has to be chosen anyway; they save money on air conditioning bills and reduce emissions; the paint lasts longer because less thermal expansion and contraction means less wear and tear on the paint; and buildings are cooler in summer. 

Emissions reduction schemes are not yet working- we need to act NOW. Instead of waiting for governments to act, we can do white roofs in our own back yards as a proven and practical way, because everyone lives or works under a roof, and every 20 years or so when we repaint we can go white for free, saving the planet one roof at a time, helping raise awareness and growing the movement for change.

This idea goes right across grass roots, businesses and government. To my surprise many well-known businesses here in New Zealand have quietly used white roofs for many years to manage heat loads, long before it was known that this also cools the planet.

At this critical time in human evolution, I consciously decided to make a positive contribution in this way to help turn the tide, and by working for the benefit of life on our planet I find I am also helping myself.”

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