Metal roofing with integral water collection features should be mandatory in the building code. Image via WikipediaA commenter at The Oil Drum asked for suggestions for a national jobs plan. Here's a low-tech, high-value, project that could benefit virtually every community in America and be funded and started tomorrow:
And don't forget a national program to do millions of add-on insulated white metal roofs with water collection features.
1) Insulated -- most energy loss in a home/apt is out the roof; but adding insulation in the attic is labor intensive (not a minus in your project, but if your money all goes to labor, you get fewer roofs done -- better more roofs, more saving)
2) White -- see Secy. of Energy Chu's presentations
3) Metal with water collection features -- most American homes have toxic roof shingles where the rain washes a steady stream of the asphalt away; it is possible to collect and use the water, but to unknown result. Rather than tear these off (wasted labor, creation of landfill waste), leave them all on there, under a nice insulating blanket and metal roof that drains into an integral guttering/collection spout system that flows into barrels or cisterns.
Imagine all the energy saved (1) from the added insulation; (2) from the reduced air-conditioning load in summer; and (3) from reduced water pumping. And the nice increase in global albedo doesn't hurt either.