Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of school buses that are yellow everywhere except for the roof.? I was perplexed as to why.? According to this nearly 20-year-old New York Times article, the reason is that white tops are more reflective, lowering the temperature inside the bus by an average of 10 degrees during the summer.? The source of that statistic is a very non-scientific sounding North Carolina pilot study.
This 10-degree difference in temperature sounds preposterous to me.?? Yellow and white just don’t seem very different in terms of heat absorption.
Are there any scientists among our blog readers who can do some back of the envelope calculations to determine whether white-roofed buses would actually be noticeably cooler?