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  • Seoul lowers temperature with ‘Cool Roof Campaign’

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    SEOUL, June 23, 2015 – The ‘Cool Roof Campaign’ is designed to promote simple and low-cost cooling strategies to help those who suffer from heat during the summer on the rooftops which are hotter than other areas. As a part of the promotion campaign Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced its plan to paint roofs white with thermal-barrier paints for free to cut the heat-island effect and save energy during the summer.

    Seoul has especially designed the free paint campaign to be targeted to young people who are living in rooftop slums because one out of five youth in Seoul is living in poor conditions. And it can be a win-win campaign as young people who benefit from the project can also give help to others by participating in the campaign. This can ultimately lead to continuous bond between people to promote further campaign for joint house repairing and insulation construction.

    According to the report from civic group Min Snail Union, as of 2010, 523,869 people that is 23 percent of total youth in Seoul (aged 19 to 34) live in poor housing. In brief, one out of five youth in Seoul are living in housing poverty as they live in rooftop rental houses or tiny cubicle rentals called Gosiwon.

    Mr. Ra, 46, who participated in the pilot project of ‘Cool Roof’, said “Changing the color of roof to white solely can lower the temperature of the building. I’m so happy that I can live in better condition without using air-conditioning system.” He also added “Even though the effect of reducing heat-island effect by painting rooftop might not be very significant for now, if this campaign keep involving others living on the rooftops, someday it could at least take part in contributing to making Seoul an energy-saving city.

    Actually, ‘Cool Roof’ means cooling roofs. During the summer, as roofs absorb heat, the surface of the roof contributes to higher temperature of the building leading to more energy consumption to cool down and the heat-island effect. ‘Cool Roof’ technique is about painting roofs with thermal-barrier white paint with solar-reflective coating to reflect the sun’s ray so that the heat won’t be trapped inside.

    The cost for ‘Cool Roof’ is just a quarter of making ‘Green Roof’. Additionally, Cool roof is applicable to all kinds of roofs while tree planting on the roof is only possible when the roof is built with concrete. The United Stated Federal Government has set ‘Cool Roof’ as one of its top 10 economic goals to fight against climate change and the buildings of the Military Base of the United States Forces Korea also adopted the standard.

    According to the experiment conducted by Professor Hashem Akbari of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the United States studying 27 cities around the world, it has been proven that the ‘Cool Roof’ actually reduces minimum 18% to maximum 93% of air-conditioning load.

    Seoul is now actively informing people that painting the roof in white solely can significantly lower the temperature of the building and save air-conditioning energy. In order to spread the campaign to all around the city, Seoul is not only promoting the campaign but also helping those who wants their roofs to be painted in white to improve energy efficiency by providing energy-saving loan support.

    Jung Hee-jung, the section chief of Energy Citizen Cooperation Section of the Seoul Metropolitan Government has said,

    “This campaign is to promote low-cost energy saving tips for air-conditioning during the summer and to support young people living in poor conditions such as rooftop house residents”. “As part of solutions for heat- island effect, we will make an effort to have the ‘Cool Roof Project’ spread throughout the city,” she said.