Wilton’s new Development Control Plan (DCP) has looked to face climate change head on, with roofs installed on new homes required to be of lighter, more reflective colours that can cool residential buildings in warmer months. 

In a bid to tackle the urban heat island effect head on, which sees human activities drive up temperatures in metropolitan areas, lightly-coloured roofs will offset the need for artificial cooling, driving down carbon emissions. A study published in the Environment International discovered that cool roofs could reduce temperatures by two degrees or more and save lives during heatwaves. 

Western Sydney temperatures in summer continue to smash records, with temperatures reaching a staggering 51.5 degrees celsius in Badgerys Creek during December 2019. The State Government believes urban heat issues is very much a present issue, underlining the need for the new DCP to usher in regulations that will drive down heat in the region. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report discovered that average temperatures across the country have increased exponentially since the industrial revolution. The country is warming faster than the global average, and is creeping closer to the 1.5-degree threshold that is set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. 

9,000 new homes, slated for construction in the coming years, will feature roofs painted with reflective qualities. Sebastian Pfautsch, Associate Professor of Urban Ecosystem Science at the Western University of Sydney, says the paint can lower the surface temperature of a building by up to 40 degrees.

"The Covid-adjusted predictions tell us that until 2030, we're going to settle another 400,000 people in the area," he says in an interview with the ABC.

"If we do that with black roofs, we're just building an oven for all these people. We have to move away from it."

Coupling the roofing requirements, the final DCP outlines that residential lots of 15 by 18 metres must accommodate a mature tree of at least eight metres in both the front and backyard of the home. This will create a green corridor that will also combat the urban heat island effect through reducing carbon dioxide, thus improving local ecosystems.  

This will help to create a so-called green corridor, combatting the urban heat island effect by improving ventilation as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and improving local biodiversity.

Reflective paint has been the subject of extensive research in the recent past, with a barium sulfate compound paint created by Indiana’s Purdue University regarded as the whitest paint on record. It’s researchers claim that if the paint covered a 93sqm roof area, it would be able to create a cooling power of ten kilowatts, far more powerful than domestic air conditioners.