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Engineer championing white roofs

Ian Montanjees is out to spread the word about the benefits of white roofs with an eye to embarking on an 18-month public campaign.

He launched the White Roofs Project back in 2010, and has taken to PledgeMe to try and drum up cash  to take it to the next level.

Montanjees, an engineer and architect, wants to raise $5,000 to fund a campaign to educate businesses, the public, and government. With a little under a week to go, though, he still has to make up more than $4,800.

"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," he says.

"Around the time of the [White Roofs Project] launch I found to my surprise that others around the world also had the same idea as me ...  it was being implemented by the Obama Administration on federal buildings across the USA. Since then I've had emails from around the country, media attention, more white-roofs popping up on houses, some businesses too, and interest from Auckland Council."

He says New Zealand businesses have quietly used white roofs for years for energy efficiency, long before it was known that this also helps to cool the planet. 

"It's a win-win solution because white roofs are free during regular maintenance or at the design stage when you have to0 choose a roof colour 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."

He says emissions reduction schemes are not working yet and we need to act now.

"Instead of waiting, we can do white roofs in our own backyards, because everyone lives or works under a roof."

Resene Paint is offering a 30 percent discount to anyone painting white in response to the project - email ian@whiteroofs.org.nz