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How city planners are tackling climate change every day with amazing materials

In December 2015, the world made a commitment to take strong and immediate action to tackle climate change. This means a step change in how we produce and consume energy, and will require a plan that encompasses everything from the cars we use to the colour of our houses.

Global issue, global action

At the COP21 summit in Paris, the nations of the world agreed to take action to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The burden of doing this was shared proportionally between the rich and poor nations of the world. For Europe this means a roughly 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a huge ambition. If we are to reach this target it is not enough just to change the sources of our energy, we must also reduce how much energy we use. One way we can do this, is using super coatings to reduce energy usage.

No business as usual

One thing urban planners consider is the heat island effect, where cities of closely clustered buildings radiate heat to each other, raising the temperature above the level of the surrounding countryside. This can lead to increased air conditioning use as people try to cool their homes and offices, meaning increased energy consumption. However, titanium dioxide can help prevent that build-up of heat in the first place so urban planners can limit the effects.

Planning for success

To avoid the heat island effect, decision makers are increasingly incentivising the use of materials such as cool roofs. Cool roofs radiate the sun’s heat away from buildings and back into the sky, stopping a build-up of heat. Titanium dioxide is one of the amazing pigments that allows them to do this, because of its unparalleled ability to reflect the sun’s rays. Cool roofs are a low cost way to save energy, and through that, the planet.

Tackling climate change requires action from all of us if we are to reach the targets we set at the COP21 conference. In November 2016 the follow up COP22 conference in Marrakech will take the next steps in climate action, changing not only how we produce energy but how we use it too.  Isn’t it time you painted your house?

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