District heating project to assess the impact of scaling cold pavements

Diving brief:

  • GAF, which manufactures roofing and other materials, announcement last week, he launched a multi-phase research project in Los Angeles to better understand how urban heat affects residents’ quality of life and how cooling solutions such as reflective pavement coatings might solve the problem when implemented in a community.
  • Working with the Global Cool Cities Alliance and local organizations, the Cool Community Project will assess surface and ambient air temperatures in Pacoima, one of the hottest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Partners will also assess qualitative measures, including the impact of extreme heat on outdoor play opportunities. GAF said it plans to install cold sidewalks – and later, potentially cold roofs or other technologies — in an area of ​​10 square blocks.
  • While several cities, including Los Angeles and Phoenixhave conducted cold pavement pilot projects, the community-wide approach sets this project apart from other efforts, according to GAF.

Overview of the dive:

Roads and other dark, paved surfaces contribute to the urban heat island effect. “Cool Sidewalks” are paved surfaces covered with lighter colored materials designed to reflect more solar energy and enhance water evaporation to reduce this effect.

By testing the pavement in a larger adjacent area and on multiple surface types compared to some previous pilots, stakeholders hope to get a better sense of whether the potential benefits of cold pavements are magnified when implemented at large scale.

The idea is to take “a more holistic, whole-neighbourhood approach,” said Jeff Terry, GAF vice president responsible for corporate social responsibility and sustainability, using the material not only on roads, but also on school playgrounds, for example. He added that beyond the potential cooling benefits of the project, “it is also about raising awareness and educating about climate change and the impact district heating can have on residents.” GAF was also one of the manufacturers involved in the city of LA earlier fresh pavement driver.

While cold pavements can be successful in reducing surface temperatures, previous studies have shown that they are also not a magic bullet to combat urban heat, as this reflection can, in some cases, cause people to absorb more heat and feel worse.

But in the years since pilot programs began, cold surface technology has also evolved.according to Maria Koetterexecutive director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance, a group that advocates for research, market development, implementation and legislation related to cold surfaces. This particular research effort will not only assess the before and after conditions in a neighborhood where cold pavements are installed treated with cold pavements, Koetter said, but also those of a neighboring neighborhood not treated as a witness.

Terry said GAF ​​and other program partners are currently in the community engagement phase. The aim is to deploy ground-level coverings later this summer, with the potential addition of a fresh roof in 2023. Terry said it’s too early to tell how the results of this project in Los Angeles could apply to other cities. “His really important that we build the methodology and design for the community we’re in and the playbook that goes with it,” he said.

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