In mid-2011, noted roofing technologist Bill Clinton wrote a piece for Newsweek in which he outlines a 14-point plan for creating jobs in the U.S. No. 8 on the list is the idea to "paint 'em white." "Painting" (his word) roofs white, he argues, not only would help solve our energy problems but also would create jobs that wouldn't otherwise be created.
In the article, he argued painting "tar" roofs white in major U.S. cities would reduce the "utility bill in every apartment house 10 to 20 percent" yet offered no evidence where that calculation came from. (And he offered no evidence of how, for example, someone living on the 20th floor of a 30-story apartment building in New York is supposed to realize savings from all that white paint.)
Clinton went on to say jobs for this kind of "simple" work would be plentiful (costs can be recovered in a week!) and suitable for "kids" who could parlay this skill into energy-related retrofit jobs. I wonder whether Clinton consulted with the building trades unions about this swell idea.
Subsequently, a group calling itself the White Roof Project has embraced the former president's idea and assembled a "progressive group of young people" to start painting roofs.