A Reflective Roof

I am intrigued by a headline today. In the report US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday the Obama administration wanted to paint roofs an energy-reflecting white.

It makes sense initially that reflecting solar heat away from buildings will reduce the amount of energy used. However, is it possible?

I have long considered that mirrors placed on a home’s roof will reflect all visible light energy (not UV, infrared, etc) away from a home. Will mirrors or polished laminated metal do the same? At what point does the price to install a roof of reflective material make financial sense?

Polished metal seems more sustainable when it is coated with a clear laminate to prevent tarnish. A textured plane instead of a completely smooth surface seems probable to prevent / reduce the effects of pilots flying through beams of reflected ground light.

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