U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the Obama administration wanted to paint roofs white to cut down on heat absorption by buildings and reduce the need for air conditioning.
He was talking about flat roofs, not the gray-shingled gabled roofs common on U.S. houses. He also revealed a startling fact: making roofs and roads paler would have the same effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years.
Painting cars a lighter color would also deliver energy savings, he said. American car buyers prefer white cars anyway, according to DuPont's annual survey of new car colors (pdf). So it's not like he's asking us to radically change our tastes.
Using cooler colors on surfaces that face the sun may not seem a game-changing move. But every little step helps, if enough people take them.