Global warming is making our cities hotter than ever before, which has led many to turn on the air conditioning. The irony is that to keep us cool we turn on machines which consume a lot of energy, and if that energy comes from a non-renewable state then the local cooling ultimately adds to global warming. Fortunately, there are simple low-cost ways to keep you cool in the summer heat while you’re indoors. Over at Popular Science they’ve put together a handy guide.
A lot of warmth comes into your home via sunlight. In individual rooms, you should control these rays with blackout curtains or shades. If you still want sunlight, open the curtains on windows that donâ€™t face the sun directly; this allows indirect sunlight to filter in.
The color of the curtainsâ€™ outward-facing side also matters. We see color because that particular wavelength of light bounces off an object. Because heat radiates as infrared light, â€œhotâ€ colors like red, orange, and yellow will deflect the most warmth.
Of course, not everyone enjoys living like a vampire. If you need more direct light, consider solar screens and window tints instead of curtains. These treatments can remove certain wavelengths of radiation while letting others in.
In the fight to curb CO2 emissions and hold back the rate of increasing climate change, researches have mapped out where the emissions are coming from. Unsurprisingly, they have found that where there is a lot of human activity there are more emissions. This will help convince naysayers and ignoramuses that humans are at fault for climate change and now we know the exact areas where we need to drastically cut emissions.
Using simulation results from 12 global climate models, Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, along with post-doctoral researcher Martin Leduc, produced a map that shows how the climate changes in response to cumulative carbon emissions around the world.
They found that temperature increases in most parts of the world respond linearly to cumulative emissions.
“This provides a simple and powerful link between total global emissions of carbon dioxide and local climate warming,” says Matthews. “This approach can be used to show how much human emissions are to blame for local changes.”
A computer simulation of the urban environment has proven that in theory white paint on rooftops can significantly cool cities – thus saving energy in the summer that would be used for air conditioning.
Cities are particularly vulnerable to climate change because they are warmer than outlying rural areas. Asphalt roads, tar roofs, and other artificial surfaces absorb heat from the Sun, creating an urban heat island effect that can raise temperatures on average by 2-5 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1-3 degrees Celsius) or more compared to rural areas. White roofs would reflect some of that heat back into space and cool temperatures, much as wearing a white shirt on a sunny day can be cooler than wearing a dark shirt.
The study team used a newly developed computer model to simulate the amount of solar radiation that is absorbed or reflected by urban surfaces. The model simulations, which provide scientists with an idealized view of different types of cities around the world, indicate that, if every roof were entirely painted white, the urban heat island effect could be reduced by 33 percent. This would cool the world’s cities by an average of about 0.7 degrees F, with the cooling influence particularly pronounced during the day, especially in summer.