Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Story a Snowy Roof Tells

There's been a real drop in light recycling this winter, compared to winters past. Which is to say that it hasn't snowed, and instead of light getting bounced around on white surfaces, it's been swallowed by the drab browns and grays of a snowless landscape.

This impacts the earth's energy budget, as well as our light-starved psyches. Energy secretary Steven Chu encourages people to install white roofs so that sunlight will be reflected back into space rather than absorbed and turned into heat energy. Snow serves that purpose well, when it's around.

A light snow also makes an excellent energy detective, telling you where heat is escaping from your house. This roof shows an apparent gap in insulation, where indoor heat escapes and melts the snow on the roof.

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