An Australian City Is Combating Climate Change by Requiring Light-Colored Roofs and a Tree in Every Yard

If you’ve ever walked barefoot across asphalt, you probably know just how hot dark-colored surfaces can get under the withering summer sun. To help decrease the temperature of the region, officials in the Wilton Growth Area, southwest of Sydney, is taking unusual steps by mandating that all residential buildings constructed from this point on have light-colored roofs. City officials point out that dark roofs not only attract and retain heat, they raise ambient street temperatures. They are hoping to gain support from homeowners when they discover this change will also reduce their astronomical electric bills. Of course, not everyone is in favor of the mandate, with some calling it “bureaucratically imposed blandness.” Others agree that cooler roofs are an easy way to combat rising temperatures and energy consumption. In addition to the roof colors, Rob Stokes, New South Wales’s Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, will also require each lot of a certain size to have a tree planted in its front and back yards. The resulting canopy is expected to keep the area cooler.